Sunday, June 10, 2007

Not Really Like Church At All

Just imagine. You arrive at church. It is not a conventional church building but a school. You are shown into a classroom while your children are shown into the hall (older ones) or a crèche.

In the classroom you are welcomed and led through a short visual liturgy using PowerPoint slides and music from an MP3 player. There is a chance to praise, confess and meditate.

After half an hour you are welcomed into the hall by the children who are, under supervision, serving you coffee and cakes in a café style whilst engaging you in conversation.

After fifteen minutes the children, leaving a skeleton staff to serve refills, leave to play games and you enter into a Bible study activity around the tables discussing the next passage in the series on Acts you are studying. You have the option, at any time, of returning to one of the classrooms to pray, either alone or in groups.

This 'service' ends with notices and thanks after 75 minutes.

Well if you've finished imagining let me tell you that this was reality for the 63 of us at Trendlewood today and it was a delight. And the biggest joy of all is that this was not the imposition of some maverick leader trying to change the behaviour of a community. This service arose out of desire and practicality. This was what the community wanted to do today. Even those who prefer worship to be different, engaged fully, as far as I could tell.

Getting there.


Mike Peatman said...

Sounds great Steve. We got a little way down this track at one of the most creative Sunday Celebrations we managed at Whitley. All-age short service for about 1/2 housr, adjourn through partition to hall for drinks at tables, served by Pathfinders, brief discussion - 2 questions based on talk - then peace, then came back into church. Prefer your more radical model, though.

Ali said...

Sounds fabulous:-)

Kathryn said...

Oh, I am so glad. Wonderful stuff.

Chris said...

Hi Steve - don't think I've ever read your blog before but wondered how you were the other day. Searched, found, here I am. Well worth bothering it seems so far, unless you are anyone who I was supposed to be doing things for this afternoon.

The service format sounds great. Even better that it came from the community (I'm wondering if you asked them a question or two along they way). I'd like to be part of such a thing. Very bored of "normal".

However the normal isn't going to change I can't imagine. However I feel committed to the people. Anyone else?

Steve Tilley said...

Chris how nice to hear you. Will go and investigate Unite Southampton when I have a day or two to spare.

Yes the Bible study sheet included these questions:

1. Who are the needy in our church and how might we go about looking after them?

2. Who are the needy of wider Nailsea and how might we go about looking after them?

3. What does this passage tell us about our attitude to possessions? Is it an attitude we can easily identify with?

4. Does everyone need a lawnmower?

5. On our general theme, what ‘Responsibilities of belonging’ does this introduce?

No answers available from me I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Like the idea of the oldies joining the kids, In most churches it's the other way about.