New Times, New Ways

Dear Friends,

Most of us are used to thinking of Sunday morning as the time for worshipping God, just as we are used to thinking of a church building as the proper place for that worship. And in times past it Sunday really was the day of rest, the day when almost everyone had a day off work.

Times, however, have changed. Many people are now expected to work on a Sunday. Similarly, many healthful and useful activities for children are now scheduled to happen on a Sunday morning. Another change is that today in most families both parents work. This means that Sundays may well be the only day in the week when families have the time to relax as parents and children together.

What does all this mean for the Church in a society in which most people have either nothing or very little to do with the Church? I think it means this: Instead of expecting people outside the Church to come to us and accommodate their schedule to ours, we Christians need to think of going out and meeting today’s people where they are and accommodating our worship to their needs. It means that we offer worship and learning opportunities at times and in places that are suitable for them. It means that we Christians start getting our heads around the idea that worship can take place at any time and anywhere, not just on Sundays and in a special building we call a church. It means that we start to think of church as something that can happen on a Saturday afternoon with parents and children getting together for fun, worship, and food, or as something that can happen on a Wednesday evening in the Crowland Hub when a group of adults come together for discussion and prayer. It means that we see these new forms of church as valid ways for God to connect with children and adults, ways that are every bit as valid as the traditional forms of worship that we are accustomed to in our churches on Sunday mornings. Messy Church on a Saturday, the Explorers Group on a Wednesday, or the Youth Group on a Friday evening are each a form of church: they are not just nurseries or primary schools for ‘baby Christians,’ even though Messy Church and the Youth Group are geared to meet the needs of children and young people. We need to get away from the idea that traditional, Sunday church is the ultimate aim, the church for ‘grown-up Christians.’ Attending traditional, Sunday church is not what all Christians need aim for: it is not secondary school or university, as compared to primary school; it is simply one among many ways of connecting with God.

In short, church takes place wherever and whenever people meet to worship God. For the church is not a building; it is Christian people. We respect and care for our church buildings because they have been built for the glory of God and because they have been centres of prayer for many people for many years. But God can find us anywhere. Remember how he found Jacob, Moses, and Jesus himself in some lonely, wild places.

So if you would like to find out more about the God of Jesus Christ, don’t think it has to be on a Sunday or in a church building. Come along to the Hub on the 2nd or 4th Wednesday of the month at 7.30 p.m. or bring your children with you to a Messy Church at Crowland Methodist Church. God can work at all times and in all places.

Yours in Christ,
Charles Brown