Well, I have varied job. As I reflected with someone, last Friday morning, I was
dodging custard pies on the stage at Holiday club and in the afternoon, I was
conducting a funeral for a member of the parish. Then I was directing traffic as
400 people attended the Holiday Club BBQ! There are few 'gear shifts' that you
have to go through to move from one to the next! With Caroline Bailey expecting
a baby - and now having given birth (congratulations) - I played a fuller role
in this years holiday club. It was called Champions Challenge. I had the
opportunity to teach the 141
4-11 year olds in the altogether time. We learned that Jesus is our trainer.
He is our team-mate. He is our substitute. He is the winner! Huge thanks go to
all those who helped in any way. We value the prays and labour that you put in!
This morning a booklet landed on my doorstep. I subscribe to Grove Booklets and
this one was about how church attendance and belonging has changed from generation
to generation. In summary the writer argued:
Generation 1 - Everyone goes to church.
Generation 2 - Adults send children to church.
Generation 3 - Adults do not send their children to church.
Generation 4 - Nobody Goes.
He goes on to say that we should identify which generation we are in contact with
and 'speak words that they will understand'.
Now - every church is different and statistics are slippery things, but here are a
few which present a positive view:
- Cathedrals report a 61% increase in weekday services from 02 - 06.
- A third of parishes in the U.K.have begun new forms of services in the last four years.
- Churches which run courses like alpha see an increase in their congregation.
- Sociologists say that Britian is becoming as furiously 'religious as ever'. Just as
cinema going and football match attendance has become more popular, so this could
be happening with church-going.
As in the market place, so in the 'gathered church', we are in a changing world. (I use the
word 'gathered', because of course, all Christians are the church - whether gathered in one
place or dispersed in their communities, workplaces or schools.) So, how should we 'be' when
we gather together? Well, just as our world is changing fast and the old 'world orders' and
'certainties' are being dismantled, so that impacts the gathered church. As a minister I need
to be able to adapt to comedy moments with custard pies and serious funerals. As a church,
we must be able to adapt to different contexts too. Yet, the message that I brought to the
children at holiday club and to the funeral attendees was essentially the same. It was a
message of hope found in Jesus Christ. Our community is made of people with deep church-going
traditions right through the spectrum to those who have none. It has been said that we are now
in a post-Christian situation even though spiritual things fascinate people.
I am not despondent about the challenge! In fact Christ Church is quite well - equipped to
respond to changing times. We have praying leaders who want to listen to what God might be
saying, we have flexible facilities which we can use (but are not bound to), we have Christians
and not - yet Christians joining our fellowship who can teach us about the world in which they
live. Most of all we a Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2.6)
who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
God’s love is high and deep and wide and broad enough to reach each person in each generation.
When everything else changes- that is certain.
Yours, in his service