Archive for the ‘Outreach’ Category

Some time ago a minister was approached by a couple who expressed a desire to become members of his congregation.   The man said of course he wanted to join the church, but the minister must understand he was rather busy and couldn’t give any time to anything like teaching the children or singing in the choir.   The wife added that went for her as well, and not to look for them too often on a Sunday as they both played golf and spend a lot of time away at their weekend cottage.   Of course they couldn’t join the envelope scheme or commit to a set amount of money every week because of all their many other financial obligations, but they would give whatever they could whenever they were there.


Gone out of business

The minister thought for a moment and replied, “I think you stopped at the wrong church.   We understand the purpose of our church somewhat differently here.   The church you want is in the next village.”  The couple got in their car and drove to the next village.   They found the other church – abandoned and boarded up – “gone out of business”.


Back in May I was at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.   It was, in my opinion, an Assembly that if you weren’t paying attention you could be forgiven for thinking nothing much happened.   You see on one hand it was a very muted affair, on the other hand, the change that was agreed was almost unparalleled in recent times.   Why?   Well, I guess because the National Church is trying to ensure that we don’t “go out of business”.   However, I feel the coming changes, are something that should encourage us all, rather than frighten us.  


Many of the reports at the Assembly focused on what it means to be the Church and reminded us that the work of the church isn’t just for the one (the minister), or the few (who faithfully volunteer), but for all the members.   You see the church, the family of God, was designed by Him to be a team working together, in unity, for one purpose:  to share His message in our community, our nation, our world.  This is a biblical model: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are a team! They work together as one, in relational harmony, to bring about God’s plans and purposes.  And we, the church, are part of that team. The Apostle Paul describes the family of God here on earth as the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), and he reminds us that when each vital, and separate part of the body works as it is intended, ‘the whole body grows and builds itself up in love’ (Eph 4:16), and when that happens – nothing can stop us.


So, in the weeks and months ahead, prayerfully consider where God might be calling you to do your part, to ensure that His Church (wherever it might be in the world) continues to fulfil its mission.   And let our response be – “Here I am, send me”, rather than, “Here I am, but please send someone else I’ve just got so many other things going on in my life”.


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Messy Church was one of those things I’d heard about and read up on – one of those “fresh expressions” of church that was happening down south (by that I mean England and not the central belt of Scotland!), and so when I saw that there was a Training Day being held in Aberdeen I tried to encourage a few of our leaders in the Children and Families’ Ministry to go along and suss it out for themselves, to see if they also saw it as an effective outreach tool for our community.  

A few weeks later our Children and Families’ Worker – Bill, was planning and recruiting for our first event – A Messy Christmas Celebration!     

Messy Church is not just about your existing church and children.   It is about the opportunity to invite new people to come to church that wouldn’t normally come.  We certainly wanted our existing children and parents to be there, but it was also about getting new folk to come to church and finding out that church isn’t necessarily the way they remembered it, or expected it to be.    Messy church is a time for families (from the very youngest to the very oldest), to come and join in the fun – to play games, to create,  to talk, laugh and be with friends, to share a meal and make more friends, and think a little more about Jesus.    (see the Messy Church website for more info – www.messychurch.org.uk)

We had a fantastic time.  42 children and 20 plus adults came along.   The age range was from a couple of weeks old to 70+.   We began (more…)

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