Discos and beanbags
As we continue our wonderful and weird journey through the pandemic, I never thought that a conversation about the future of church would be so engaging and provoking. Something happened yesterday when we were able to honestly look at what we value about church and what we want to change.
It was fascinating listening to people's ideas of what their church would look like. From James's disco and chill out areas and Andrew's use of bean bags, through to Grace's desire to keep all the adults in one place, so she can go and have fun with her friends, we had a wide range of ideas of what church should look like. I'm hoping that we'll be able to share our ideas through Facebook and here on the blog. Some of them could be put straight in to action now, others would require a bit of planning permission. What is exciting is that we all had something to contribute, a vision, an idea which we think would make our churches more accessible, more interesting and accepting of others. However, the hymns v songs debate rages on - there was a definite split; it might be something we have to look into a bit further!
Not that the building should limit our ideas of what church is. We shared together the 3Generate Manifesto - which can be found here:
We asked people then to go beyond the building, to think about the values and what foundations we should build our churches on. Should it be kindness, inclusivity? How much of a part does God play - where would you put Him and the Bible. The Methodist Church has a mission statement "Our Calling", which is the church's response to God's love. This, they reckon can be split into four areas:
Learning and Caring
We asked our families to build a visual representation of these values, thinking about where the people would be, where would God be? Of course this being FTUK we used chocolate, a book, some sweets and a candle. I have to say I was quite amazed at the results. (Can't wait to see the photos!).
Here's Andrew's interpretation to wet your appetite!
But that's the thing - I think we figured out that church is relevant, that it has a place in our post(ish) covid society and that God really matters. Graham found three bible verses which proved that we are a church, even now, and we are called to move beyond the building:
So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household. As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is joined together in him, and it grows up into a temple that is dedicated to the Lord. Christ is building you into a place where God lives through the Spirit.
I think this touches on our desire to be inclusive, about what our community is built on and that it is people who are at the centre. I wonder what you think?
The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.
Singing did come up as part of what we wanted to do, furthermore, this talks about how we are to act together with one common purpose, placing faith at the centre of everything we do. Jesus needs to be right at the heart of our church.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.
This was such an encouragement for us at FTUK - to think that as we've been meeting together, even when we're not in the same room, that we know that Jesus is with us.
So what would your future church look like? What's important to you? As with all of our musings, you're welcome to join in the discussion. Either register on the blog or take your questions to the Facebook page.
What to go a bit deeper? This week we're launching our midweek discussion slot "FTUK+1" where we will take a closer look at the Bible passages we've discussed on Sunday, give some space to prayer and share our reflections on what God is saying. Register via the website or FB for the Zoom Room information. See you at 7.00pm on Wednesday for our first go!
Faith at Home Challenge
So this week, we've challenged each other to push for change in our churches, and try and do something more of what we think our churches should be doing. What will it be? Up to you, but we'd love to hear from you and how it went.
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