The Gospel Partnerships asked me to describe what it’s like to be left behind in the sending church once the new plant has started. Here are my reflections.
Posts Tagged ‘Church’
‘Who does he think he is?’
Growing up as a disillusioned teenager in a disastrous Anglican Church, we were required to recite the same liturgy every week. My mood would rise or fall depending on which version of the Rite for Holy Communion we would be using. Some seemed significantly shorter than others.
But it was the prayer of humble access that really used to press my buttons. It’s that phrase ‘we are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs from under your table’. ‘Who does he think he is?’ God, I mean. To an arrogant fourteen year old they were enough to light the inner blue touch paper. They’re no less easy on the ears of a slightly less arrogant forty year old. But I don’t struggle with them in the same way that I used to. They’re true. I’m not worthy to gather up the crumbs from under the Lord’s table. And I’ve come to see that. Or rather, God has persuaded me.
What’s changed? Well, I’ve come to appreciate who God is and who I am. God is immeasurably, inconceivably, breathtakingly wondrous in the perfection of his righteousness, love and wisdom. I am not. I’m far from that. Even in my regenerative state as a man under divine reconstruction, I am not worthy. The Spirit of God may be making me more like Christ, but I’m still a work in progress – as are you. And we’re not worthy.
But that’s not the whole of the story, is it? Even though being permitted to scrabble around on the floor picking up the things that God brushes off his table would be a privilege, God goes further. He goes so much further. He invites us to sit with him at his table as a guest, to enjoy his companionship and to enjoy all the good things he lays on for us. It’s the difference between what we are by nature and what we are by grace. God graciously get us up off the floor, pulls up a seat and welcomes us to himself so that we might know him and enjoy him. For ever. He is the same Lord who ‘delights in showing mercy’.
It’s good for us to say the prayer of humble access. I actually love saying it these days. It’s very good for my soul to be reminded what I have because of God’s generosity to me. It may stick in our throats when we first hear it. But as we become more familiar with the God of the Bible and the wickedness of the human heart, we’ll discover it’s true. And we’ll be able to say it with conviction. And with joy. As many of us already do.
Ministry is usually something of a mixed bag. Often there’s stuff to celebrate. But then there’s usually a fair share of rubbish. And that’s because ministry is essentially a people project. And, as people, we have an extraordinary capacity to both lift the spirit and make make you want to hit the spirits.
There were some definite low moments this year; saying goodbye to my wonderfully loyal assistant minister and good friend, Pete Matthew would be chief among them. He’s now blessing the town of Woking with his uniquely brilliant mix of people skills, organisational savvy, evangelistic fervour and faithful Bible teaching. Though a planned one, he was also a big loss. In more ways than one! (let the reader understand).
But there were some real encouragements this year. And I spent a couple of minutes last night scribbling them down. I didn’t want to forget God’s goodness. I wanted instead to be able to bring to mind the spiritual highlights so that I could rejoice i what God had given me in 2012. And so, in reverse order, sort of, here they are;
10. Theology Breakfast. We launched this in the Autumn term. It’s for the hardcore lover of systematic theology. We meet at 0630 on a Friday morning for an hour before work. Most normal people would prefer to be in bed at that time of the week and that time of the day. We’re no different. It’s just that we love getting our teeth into doctrine so that we might better understand God’s word. We’re a small but enthusiastic crowd. And it’s been a real treat to think through the implications of the Bible’s teaching on itself. This term it’s been the authority, clarity, inerrancy and sufficiency of the scriptures. And it’s been a real treat to go deep in the company of others who share a similar appetite.
9. Balham’s Big Survey, our May mission. There are lots of reasons why I love being in ministry. And mission, if it’s not the chief one, is right up there in the top three. I never want to run a church that exists just for the people who already come to it. We’re not simply about providing Christians with a spiritual home whilst they’re in London. God has given His people a mission; to take the gospel to all people. And we’re not going to ignore that. And so we simply can’t understand and enjoy the great news of the gospel and keep it to ourselves. If others don’t want it; that’s sad. But it’s their call. They’re of age. They can decide. But I do want them to make an informed decision. I want to be certain that they understand what they’re rejecting. And so our annual mission is a real highlight. Our week of concentrated and perhaps somewhat artificially concerted effort for the gospel does at least make sure that we never let ourselves forget that many people in our networks and in our neighbourhoods have never heard and understood why Jesus Christ matters. This was a week where we put other distractions to one side and focussed especially on providing opportunities for others to come to events and hear the gospel. As per usual, the beneficiaries are not only those that hear it but those that share it. God teaches us that we can do it, that there’s nothing like it and that we can’t go back to being indifferent about the plight of those without it.
8. Taking up residence in the Mews. After more years than has been good for us, we’ve finally got the staff team all working under the same roof. Anyone who enjoys working on their own probably ought not to be in ministry. If they love reading, studying and writing, that’s all very well. But go and be an academic. Just don’t run a church. It’s only now that I realise just how unhealthy it was for me to be working in my own study with very little contact with people during the day. Now that we’re in the Mews, I’m not sure that our productivity has increased. I spend far more time having conversations and interacting with people. But it’s been so much more effective in helping us work together and serve the congregation. And that’s a real blessing.
7. New people. One of the undisputed blessings of being in our post graduate style inner city suburb is that we get new people moving into the area all the time. The downside, of course, is that people are also always moving on. Balham is a stop on the journey, not the final destination. And many of them find their way to us. And that’s a real joy. We love having new people join the congregation. And not simply because I grow tired of the old one. That’s simply a scurrilous rumour! It’s just that I like it when God adds new people to our church family. I like change. I like different. I like new. And so the numbers of people that He keeps bringing to us is a real source of pleasure and thanks.
6. Small Group Ministry. I’m a massive fan of small groups. When they’re done well, they provide a brilliant way of helping people understand and apply the Bible and a brilliant way of generating wonderful Christian community. I’m not at all sure that churches can grow in spiritual maturity without them. The trouble is, they’re not often done well. And so this year we decided to go hard at our small groups and really put some welly into our prep, their organisation and their resourcing. Wonderfully we’re beginning to see the fruit of that. I attend two small groups most weeks and pay attention to what’s going on. It feels like a ministry OFSTED. And that’s alright. I’m there to help. The guys who run the groups can’t expect to be experts. They all have busy, demanding jobs and many have not been trained in the specific skills of handling a small group scenario. That’s where the staff come in. We’re employed to train them. And it’s a real joy to be doing so this year. There’s been a noticeable improvement in the group dynamic and most encouragingly, the appetite for playing a part in becoming a great small group.
5. Watching Brixton take shape. It’s still very much in the embryonic stage, but Jay Marriner is doing a great job in recruiting, coalescing and pastoring a core group to plan a new church into what he describes as the capital of black Britain, namely Brixton. It’s early days and we’re a way off being able to launch a ‘standard’ Sunday meeting but there’s a dozen or so people who meet every week to study the Bible. He’s meeting new people every month, it seems. He’s meeting up with new contacts and reading the Bible with them. God is giving us the momentum to get something going. We’ve been really serious about praying for this fledgling evangelistic ministry. Jay and I shoot the breeze and talk church planting at least once a week. And then I just look on and watch God make it happen. We’re in God’s hands about what might emerege and when it might happen. And that’s a great place to be!
4. Female Staff. It’s just great having ‘girls’ on the team. It felt a little odd having an all male staff team, much as I love Alex’s and Jay’s company! Wonderfully we’ve been able to afford and persuade two quality women to come and join us. Hannah looks after our kids’s work; training the leaders and teaching the kids. And Abi pastors our young women; teaching and training them. And already, in a short space of time, the benefits have been tangible. It is terrific having them on board. They bring a different perspective. And they’re such an encouragement.
3. The 10th Birthday Celebration. October saw us celebrate God’s goodness over the last ten years. In October 2002 a fairly inexperienced group of about 20 people started meeting for the first time as Christ Church Balham. Ten years later we’re a church of 130 adults, and one of the founding members reckoned that we’ve said ‘goodbye’ to almost as many in that time. That’s remarkable. But it’s God who’s given us the growth. You only need to look at some of my sermons to know that it wasn’t the quality of preaching that brought people along! But the chance to look back on ten years of faithful gospel ministry and see what God has accomplished through us, in us and despite us was a real treat.
2. Conversions. There’s nothing like it. This year God has been busy behind the scenes in the hearts of a significant number of people. And we couldn’t be happier. I don’t have favourite converts, of course. But there’s one that causes me to rejoice a little more excitedly than the others, if I’m honest. And that’s simply because we seemed to be making so very little progress with one man in our congregation. He’d been hearing the gospel from us for a period of a few years. But very quietly, he went away on his holiday and came back to tell us that he’d given his life to Christ. Priceless.
1. The spiritual highlight of 2012, for me at least, has nothing to do with Christ Church Balham. It has to do with my family. It’s hearing my daughter praying in her room after she’d finished her Bible study, completely unaware that I was passing outside her room. This wasn’t prayer for show. It was the honest pouring out of her heart to her loving heavenly Father. And it completely knocked me for six. It was real and it was for the conversion of one of her closest friends. In all honesty, if I got to the end of my life and all three of our children knew, loved and served the Lord, I’d die a very happy man. I’d take that every time over recognition, acclaim or anything that local church ministry might afford its’ practitioners.
So all in all it’s not been a bad year, has it? Praise the Lord.
I’m off for a conference. It’s not the first time I’ve been to a Bible Conference in the States. I’m always keen to access their expertise. But it is the first time I’ve gone as a speaker. And it can’t be because they want to access mine! I wasn’t their first choice, as you might expect. But I am their last! They wanted Gavin McGrath. I mean, who wouldn’t?! But Gavin told them that they didn’t want him; they wanted me. They listened to some talks and saw no reason to disagree, which is encouraging.
Christ Church Carrollton, Dallas is the church hosting the conference. You can find out more about them here. They’re a recent church plant established initially as a result of the fallout from the rampant doctrinal revisionism of the Episcopal Church of which they were a part. They’re now a mission of the Presbyterian Church of America. You can find out a bit more about that here. They describe themselves as Christ centered, Bible focused, mission minded and reformed. Amen to that!
I’m so looking forward to going. Of course I’ll miss the family. And I’ll miss the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, which I think Rosslyn is more put out about! It’s a big weekend in the United Kingdom. We’re celebrating sixty years of the rule of Queen Elizabeth the Second. You can find out more about that here! But it’s going to be a treat meeting Christian brothers and sisters in the States, enjoying what we have together in Christ, sharing what he’s called us to do in his service and encouraging one another to persevere in his strength. I’m hoping to sit down with Bill Lovell, their principle pastor and compare church planting notes.
You can find details of the conference here. That’s some speaker list. But given that I’m preaching on 1 Corinthians I’ve taken great comfort from 1 Cor 4:3, ‘But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court’. It’s the Lord who judges the quality and motives for our ministry. And so I’m trying to focus on the only audience that ultimately matters. It may be daunting to know that God is watching and listening. But it’s also liberating.
I’ll keep you posted on my experiences. I have some worries not least whether my, some might say, unique style of humour will translate. I’ll tell you what I make of the home of JR, the Cowboys and George W. Bush. But I think I’m in for a treat. You might pray that Christ Church Carrollton is as well!
Christine Jensen, the wife of Peter Jensen (the Archbishop of Sydney) has written her ten top tips for going to church. You’ll find them here.
She’s raised a young and large family so she knows what she’s talking about and she’s done the hard yards of putting it into practice. And she’s been married to the Minister so she knows what a difference each of these things makes to him.
Being on time is a real bugbear of mine. It’s so frustrating to get up at the start of church to a half empty building and then watch people arrive during the hymn, confession or kids’ slot! And there’s just so much to be done before church actually ‘starts’. There are people to see, conversations to be had, newcomers to be welcomed, stuff to be arranged and so on. If we breeze in on time or 10 minutes after the start of the meeting (as one of our families got into the habit of doing), it’s pretty poor form. The Perkins are hopeless at being places on time owing to the different way Rosslyn and I approach time (let the reader understand). We’ve worked out that if we aim to be at church at a certain time, that doesn’t work. We aim to leave the house at a certain time. And that does. If we leave at 10am we may well get there at 10.10am and that means that we get 20 minutes to be helpful and do ministry. If we have a last minute disaster (I spill toothpaste on my shirt, have forgotten to download the power point onto the computer or one of the kids is completely inappropriately dressed) we can still get there before the start, which is always helpful for the Minister!
Christine’s article isn’t long. It’s well worth a read. And it’s well worth having a discussion and a pray with your spouse. If every family had this attitude then a church would be transformed.
One of our kids has been invited to a party by someone they don’t really regard as a friend. There’s no hostility between them, or indeed anything remotely untoward. It’s just that they don’t really play together. And the enthusiasm for friendship is a little one sided. And so the invitation to come to a party involving only a handful of others wasn’t welcomed with the enthusiasm that you might expect. Our child decided that they didn’t want to go. We could have taken the path of least resistance (which is often the most attractive route in parenting … but is usually the most disastrous). But we didn’t. Not this time. I felt uncomfortable for the individual who’d sent the invitation. They’d only invited a few people to the party. And one of our kids was one of them. That’s not nothing. They clearly regarded our kid as someone whose company they enjoyed and whose friendship they coveted, even if it wasn’t reciprocated. And so we braced ourselves for a confrontation. But it went surprisingly well, largely because of the example I gave.
I talked about our friendship with God, or rather, God’s friendship with us. Think about it for a moment. What has God got to gain from offering us His friendship? How does He benefit? As far as He’s concerned, we’re a bunch of losers (until He makes something of us). We’re really different. We don’t have a whole lot in common and what we do we’ve trashed (His image). We’re the geeky nerds that no one really likes. It’s not convenient for Him to seek us out and befriend us. And yet, that’s what He’s done. He’s shown us compassionate love. He’s approached us and offered us friendship. He’s taken us into the inner circle of his friendship group. We get to share His life. And it makes Him happy (as well as us) to do it. What an undeserved privilege!
Is that not a model for offering friendship to those we wouldn’t naturally choose as our friends? Are we, who’ve experienced the kindness of God, to show similar kindness to others. Our child thought so.
And it got me thinking about my own friendship patterns, and especially those at church. In fact, it got me thinking about how we treat the newcomers that God brings to us at CCB. I think that this has got something to teach us about the ministry of ‘welcoming’ at church.
One of the joys in an inner London suburb is that though people leave when they get to a certain stage of life, they also keep arriving in similar numbers. And everyone who joins our church needs to be integrated into the church family for them to flourish. They need to find Christian friendships in order to grow and mature. Of course not everyone who arrives needs to be, can expect to be and perhaps most importantly wants to be my new best friend. But the danger is that once we’re settled with our own group of friends we lose the impetus to provide friendship to others. We’re sorted and we’re not looking to extend our inner circle of friendships. But if all newcomers meet is an apparent wall of closed cliques, why would they stay? There’s sometimes little appetite to offer genuine friendship to newcomers where the volume of arrivals is high. But what a privilege to be those who can treat others the way that God in Christ has treated us.
I think I got more from the conversation with my kid. They’re now keen to go, which is good. But I’ve benefited from thinking about our own life in ministry at CCB. It’s a win win!
That’s the question of this year’s Balham’s Big Question.
We’ve posed it online here, on various social media sites and in person on the streets of Balham.
But how has it got to this? Honestly, how on earth have we got to a situation where people are genuinely asking the question ‘is Christianity good for the world?’ To us Christians, it’s inconceivable that anyone should be in any doubt about the answer. After all, when Mark began his gospel he started with these words, ‘the beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ – the Son of God’ (Mark 1:1). Mark wasn’t unsure. He was convinced that Jesus Christ is good news. That’s what the word ‘gospel’ means. Jesus Christ has always been and will always be very good news for the world.
But in our neck of the woods, the good news has become the bad news. At least that’s the perception. And we’d like to change that. We’re putting on a week of mission events as one of the things that CCB can do to help the people of the Balham area hear the good news of Jesus Christ. We want to do so with events that they can access, in language that they can understand and in venues with which they’re familiar.
We’ve got a Question Time tonight at which people can pitch their questions and hear some answers from our panelists Andrew Nicholls, Leonie Mason and Nick Tucker. We’ve got a Men’s Curry Night on Friday at which I’ll give a talk entitled ‘Is Jesus just for girls?’ (The answer is no – but I’m planning to have a bit more to say than that). We had a women’s evening last Monday with their ‘Girls’ Night In’. I’ve blogged about that here. On Sunday we have a guest service in the morning when I’ll speak on ‘Christianity: a faith for people who don’t do religion’. And Sunday night we’ll reveal the results of Balham’s Big Survey and Dan Strange will answer the question ‘Is Christianity good for the world?’
We’re pleased with what we’ve ended up with. We’re hopeful that this will work. But please pray so that our efforts to help our friends, neighbours and colleagues are not in vain? We’d love to help them see that the answer to the question ‘is Christianity good for the world?’ is emphatically yes.
I had a bit of fun with a similarly themed post a while back. You can find it here. It’s about how to ruin your small group. I thought I’d take the concept and run with it. I got Ed Drew to look at it. In familiar fashion he called me a ‘monkey’. And then he said that though he liked it, he thought that in one or two places I sounded bitter. I’m not. Honestly. I’m in really good heart at the moment; we’ve got loads to be thankful for at CCB. But it’s fair to say that these patterns of behaviour are somewhat trying for a church leader.
Anyway, to the matter in hand; how to kill your congregational meeting!
1. Start ‘weekending’: Go away lots at the weekend. Get out of London. You need a break. You’ve earned it. Don’t worry about getting back in time for church. Sure, it’ll mean you’re rarely around for two weeks in a row. You’ll lose consistency and coherence in the preaching programme. But there’ll be unexpected benefits. You won’t make any friendships that you don’t want to. And no one will be able to rely on you to do anything so you won’t need to appear on one of those tiresome rotas. Spiritually it won’t help you to be so infrequent and irregular at church but physically you’re bound to feel refreshed!
2. Pitch up late: Don’t worry about being on time. That’s so legalistic. The Bible doesn’t say punctuality is one of the fruit of the spirit. It’s a Sunday after all; everyone else is lazing around the house reading the Sunday papers or drifting in from watching the afternoon match at the pub. It’s a day or rest; not rush. So aim to arrive sometime during the first song. You won’t have missed anything important; just the general welcome and an opening prayer. The newcomers who pitch up early anxious that they’ll be late can fend for themselves! They didn’t really come to meet anyone anyway. They’ll pick up from our relaxed approach to life that this is a church strong on grace rather than works. And there’s the benefit of being able to scan the congregation and choose very carefully where to sit.
3. Sit on your own: Don’t sit near anyone else. They might engage you in conversation at the end of the meeting. And worse, you might feel obliged to do the same to them. Sit somewhere where you can avoid eye contact with others in the congregation. You’ve come to church to be anonymous. It’s about you and God, not about you and anyone else. You’re not there to make friends and encourage others. You’re there to focus on your relationship with God, aren’t you?
4. Let your mind wander. Don’t bother engaging with the sermon. It’s probably not worth using up valuable mental energy. If the guy doesn’t hold your attention the way that ‘The Wire’ does then you can’t be expected to listen attentively. You could take notes but you wouldn’t want to seem keen. There’s no need to think about what’s being said; you’ve come for private contemplation. The sermon is the chance to let your mind wander and to lose yourself in thought. I wouldn’t worry about encouraging the preacher with active listening that’ll inspire him to keep explaining and applying the Bible. He’s a professional. He’s been at it a while. He’s very aware of his own limitations and so he knows the score!
5. Switch off in the singing: Don’t look like you’re putting anything into it. Just look passive and disengaged. It’s music and if it doesn’t sound anything like your favourite band then there’s no compulsion on you to do anything other than to stand up and mouth the words so that you blend in with the crowd. Don’t worry about setting an example by pouring your heart and soul into the song. It’d be a trifle zealous to express your profound thankfulness to God for the Christian life, wouldn’t it? The enthusiasts can do that. You have another spiritual gift. The gift of lukewarmness! The musicians will be fine. They’re not really expecting anything. They have their expectations under control. To be honest they don’t mind putting in hours of preparation, turning up early to set up and practice, barely being able to concentrate on anything else during the meeting because they’re so anxious about getting things wrong and spoiling it for others and then packing it all away again at the end of the meeting.
6. Avoid spiritual reflection: As soon as the last words have been spoken and the musicians have filled that awkward silence with Christian ‘musak’, get up from where you’re sat and make a beeline for the door. The last thing you want to do is sit where you are, look over your sermon notes and then reflectively pray through what you’ve learnt.
7. Let newcomers fend for themselves: At the end of the formal meeting, don’t bother approaching those who look unfamiliar. They may not be. And how would you know; you’re never there and you wouldn’t want to make an excruciatingly embarrassing mistake. You don’t need to talk to them anyway. They can always look at the bookstall indefinitely! That’s why it’s there, isn’t it?
8. Keep it superficial. In the unfortunate event that you unavoidably found yourself in a conversation, keep it brief and light. Humorous pleasantries work well. All the time look over their shoulder for someone more interesting to talk to. You’ll appear popular, and fun, without ever having to be honest about your own life. In addition, you’ll not find out anything further about them, which is great because it’s always hard to remember tiresome details about other, less interesting people!
9. Make a quick exit. Don’t hang around just in case someone grabs you at the end. If it’s Sunday morning then the roast is in the oven. You’ve got friends coming over. If it’s Sunday evening you need to get back to iron your shirts. You’ve got work the following morning.
10. Shift from the sacred to the secular. As soon as you’ve left church, just get on with real life. I wouldn’t worry about bringing what you learned into your day to day existence. That could make things complicated in the workplace, or in your social life. There’s no need to worry about praying for your church family. Remember church is simply a ninety minute commitment once a week. That is, if you haven’t had a better offer!
I was asked recently to give my five top ways of getting blokes into church. Why me? What do I know? I’m not aware that we are especially successful at CCB in reaching and retaining men. But then I realised. I’d not been asked because I’m successful but because I’m opinionated!
CCB isn’t badly off for blokes. We’re pretty close to half and half. But we’ve had a load of baby girls born recently which hasn’t helped the stats. But there’s not much I can do about that. But it’s worth saying that we’re young. Most of our blokes are in their 20s and 30s.
But, for what it’s worth, here are my five top tips for getting blokes into church.
1. I think it helps to have a deliberately planned evangelistic programme
Churches need to aim at something. So they need to put things in place that are intentionally aimed at reaching blokes with the gospel. Not all men are the same and that’s worth remembering. Our blokes are a bit musical and creative for my tastes. But we’re not only overgrown adolescents and metrosexuals! We’ve got a handful of sporty, DIY types as well; real men who sweat! But by planning an evangelistic programme churches will steer theirr resources and attention towards men’s evangelism. Often God brings people out of left field rather than through our carefully planned strategic programme. But I suspect that he does that just to keep us humble. But plans to reach men communicates that church isn’t just for old women of both genders. We want everyone to know that we’re serious about helping men see the implications of Christ’s death and resurrection. Events like men’s curry nights with an after dinner speaker tend to work well. I’d have more sports events if we had more sporty types to work with.
2. I think it helps to have an existing pattern of men’s ministry
If blokes are going to join a church, they want to know that it’s a church that’s already got them in mind. I don’t want to fill guys’ diaries up with pointless stuff that just makes me feel good that there’s something in the church programme for men. But it does help to have an ongoing pattern of men’s ministry that’s geared to help blokes in their roles as mates, husbands, fathers and workers. It’s worth having a men’s weekend away to cover off some of the issues that we’d struggle to cover in a mixed gathering. Men’s prayer triplets have been a huge help in providing the support and accountability that Christian men sometimes lack.
3. I think it helps to have quality personal work with blokes worth watching
A bloke worth watching is not simply a bloke with promise for ministry. It also includes blokes who are likely to give up on the faith unless someone gives them some sustained personal attention and encouragement. But obviously it makes sense to identify the guys who will ‘take off’ with some training. They can multiply ministry in the congregation by replicating what you do. Give them a vision and a passion for men’s ministry and the ministry workforce has just increased by one. The way to do that is to disciple them in the faith through personal work. And so it’s worth looking through the church directory and working out whom to throw your weight behind.
4. I think it helps to give public prominence to male leaders.
Get blokes running things. Get them up front in church organising, leading, arranging and doing things. Don’t just leave it to the women. If that means encouraging some of these very able women to step back, then grasp that nettle. It’s often not as difficult as you might assume because most women want the men to get up off the sofa to provide some leadership. It’s sometimes harder to get the blokes to step up to the plate. But healthy churches will have servant hearted men leading sacrificially. And we need to provide them with opportunities to do that and encourage them to take them.
5. I think it helps to maintain a musical preference for songs with substance.
I love singing in church. But not all songs. Some of them make me want to curl up and die. And I’m a Christian and so I love Jesus. But I really struggle to sing some of the lyrics that we put in modern choruses. I don’t usually have the same issue with hymns. Sometimes our meetings can feel that someone has arranged them so that they resemble a romantic meal with Jesus. Soft emotive music plays to create a conducive atmosphere. There are long self reflective pregnant pauses where we’re presumably supposed to look longingly into his eyes. And then we even share a meal together at the Lord’s Supper. I know it’s an exaggeration. But I’m not entirely wrong, am I? All I’m saying is that we need to be careful that we’re not excluding men from our church meetings because we’ve feminised our meetings.
So there you go. Five things that might help churches to get blokes into church. I’m sure there’ll be a few comedy responses, so I’m looking forward to those.
P.S. ‘big love’ to any CCB creatives who happen to read this!