This month I want to spend a bit of time sharing my thoughts to the church. As a young(ish) clergy person I have some ideas after observing the state of the church over the last 10 years. Frankly, to be honest, if I wasn’t clergy, I’m not sure I’d be going to church.
So I’m spending few weeks exploring 6 thoughts, or suggestions, I have for the church. This isn’t targeting any one particular denomination or congregation since many of us are struggling in similar ways.
Open The Doors and Walk Out of Them
There’s an interesting phenomenon that we have in our churches. We have this thing which seems to keep us from being fully part of the community. This block does two things. It keeps us from seeing what’s in our communities that could use our help. It also keeps people from seeing what we have to offer.
Of course it’s not really the doors. But think about it. We come to church on Sunday morning We walk inside and we close the doors behind us. Then we leave the church through those doors and lock them up when the last one leaves.
What happens inside those doors is a time where we listen to, we lay our burdens, we worship, we pray, we ask for forgiveness, we ask for all these thing from God. We get reassured we aren’t bad people, then we leave and go back to our homes and the rest of our lives.
We seem to be happy about this. We are happy we have our one hour a week where we sing our songs, we pray, we listen to the preacher.
But what about those who are outside the church? The people who are struggling with being a single parent? Or the people who are struggling with addictions, hunger or poverty? The people who feel the church has nothing to offer them? What about these people? The people who look at our closed doors and say, “Look, they’re at it again, having their hour of Holy before going back to their regular lives.” Or maybe more simply, “There go the hypocrites!”
Ouch? You bet!
So what are we doing to change that mindset in our communities? What are we doing to show that by going to our church we are learning what it means to be a faithful Christian?
The way to show this is to come out of the doors of our churches and show we care. We need to show people that we are learning about ways in which God is calling us to walk with the weak and vulnerable, the one’s in need in our communities. This doesn’t mean we need to have programs. It doesn’t mean we need to spend thousands of dollars on outreach.
It means we come out of our buildings and show people how God has touched our lives. It could mean some of us get involved with community programs. It could mean some of us will reach out to a neighbour who is really struggling. It could mean some of us will volunteer in our schools. It means different things for different people.
But the key thing is we’re seen to be taking the church, we’re taking God, out of our buildings (not that God could ever be limited to our buildings) and trying to make a difference.
Open the doors. Go out of them and see where God will take you.
Next up, we’ll see if the door can swing both ways.