Saturday, 14 February 2009

2) away with the old and in with the new

One of my friends said to me yesterday the church as we know it is dead. There was a sense of passion, conviction and certainty in his voice. It was in many ways a bit like a death-nell in the coffin in the church as people like me have inherited it.

A week before this i was talking to another wise woman in the faith and said to her 'if we were doing church from scratch - the way we do it in the Methodist Church would be the last way we do it.' She agreed and i then asked why on earth we continue to peddle this out-dated, out of shape way of being church.

One of the options then for the church is surely to ditch all the baggage and cumbersomeness we have inherited and start all over again. One option has to be to scrap the old patterns faithfully woven and displayed and replace them with more modern more vibrant designs and patterns of church that look contemporary, attract younger more driven people and generally reflect the energy and vitality of God more closely and clearly. One option is to move our resources in a heavily imbalanced way towards the emerging church for surely there is no hope or future in the current mould. To continue the imagery of cross-stitch church the time may well have come to unpick the current design and start all over again. Practically that means the closure of chapels and congregations with no purpose and vision and whose values and ethos reflects little of the DNA of the church as expressed in the New Testament. If people are going to be left astray or not come to church anymore then it simply confirms their lack of commitment or vibrant faith anyway. Something which seems all to obvious to me as a pastor all too often but which is never said for fear of upsetting people.

If the church is to be relevant, fresh, closer to Jesus and a better reflection of God the Great Artist's nature then the quickest and most efficient way is to agree NOW that the old has indeed gone and the new is come.

This IS an option for the church. Maybe someone will be brave enough to run with it someday soon. Maybe someone will be brave enough to unpick a cherished design and ask God what He wants to stitch now in 2009.

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