This past Sunday, my church went crazy. Instead of rows of chairs, a bunch of tables were laid out in the main body of the building, people were given hot drinks, a newspaper to read over and various crafts were put out for the children before the service. It was made into a place of comfort. You should guess what was really crazy though. It was electric.
People came together in true fellowship. Conversations were started, not just among the “regulars” but between those who had never experienced ‘church’ before. The lines between generations were blurred, and the whole building came alive with joy and love.
This excites and troubles me. It’s exciting because our church isn’t like this normally. It can be very structured, traditional and tailored towards a particular age denomination. It’s like this because in our church, the majority (who are all quite elderly) somewhat dictate how the services are put together. These regular services have been becoming more and more poorly attended over recent years, which is sad – but shows that a change is necessary if the church is to revive itself. This new type of service seemed to fit the bill exactly for the revival we so desperately needed and that’s what’s exciting about it.
My worry, or concern, is this, for those who experienced the excitement of this new type of morning service, and who decide that they want to know more. What happens when they return next Sunday? The church has it’s rows back, the liturgy is reeled off and it’s back exactly how the elderly have tailored it to be. The congregation sit exactly where they have sat for the past 40 years and suddenly the church becomes it’s own stereotype. It’s not what God promised, it manufactures itself to look after it’s own, very rarely looks outward. It’s kind of a false advertisement of what church is and is a stark contrast to what it should be.
Am I saying that the Church of England is wrong in how it works? No. I’m saying that it’s easy to get lost. To like church a certain way for so long that it becomes so difficult to change that and even more difficult to see that there’s any problem at all.
What I’m saying is that when we change it up in church, you can feel God working and I guess that can be sometimes lacking on other Sunday mornings.
I’m not having a go at people, they’re all warm and friendly and caring. They are disciples, but we can become closed to change. This is dangerous, it means we’ll never move forward. and that’s scary.
I think the Church should always encourage change, and that these baby steps into the unknown are what will bring about a glorious revolution for God. It’s exciting to think that one day these baby steps will be a run, and one crazy Sunday every two months will become the norm, and the love and joy that was in that building will overflow.