Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning. Someone had decided to include 'Area Dean of Portishead' as part of my biography and introduction. Journalists eh? They find stuff out. To which presenter Emma added 'King of Portishead' later, which I'm not sure is quite in keeping with the Church of England's desired humility from its ministers so let's move on:

I was listening to some pastors from the States. The conversation turned to church-growth.

I have a vested interest in this question. I am trying to grow a church but am doing it without having a building. In addition to Trendlewood Church I now have some responsibility for a second one that doesn't have a building - it's a congregation that meets in the parish of St Andrew's, Backwell once a month, so we've christened it 'Andy's'. Both Trendlewood and Andy's meet in schools.

My American buddies explained that when their churches got too big for the buildings they started in they bought some land on the edge of town and built a new one. Everything's bigger in the States. There's room.

Not so easy here, as any conversation about a new piece of infrastructure will tell you. In a country where loads of people have nowhere to sleep a stadium is hosting a sleep-out, whilst planning an Arena which will welcome 4000 people eventually.

We forget that every church in this country, yes every single one, was once planted. The Christian faith was fundamentally nomadic. 'Foxes have holes and birds have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head' said Jesus once. But, someone remarked at a preachers group I was at on Monday evening, even the stories Jesus told were about land ownership, gates and wells. We settle down. We get cozy.

The Christian faith has got a bit comfy in its buildings, although that might be the worst choice of word I've ever made for some of the pews I've experienced.

But don't we all find it hard to walk away from what we have set in stone and start something new.

No comments: