Mark in his comment on my last post hits the nail on the head when he suggests that needing to restate our vision every three months is a product of our modern targets-obsessed culture.
Last night I outlined the strategy I think the church should be adopting to reach people in response to that dreaded question - 'where are we going?'
Part of my answer was so complicated that even I lost track of it! But the core answer was really simple - 'let's have more parties', I said. 'Let's invite our neighbours into our homes for a social event with no agenda beyond having conversations with the people who live around us.'
Let's do this a couple of times and then let's touch base with one another and ask 'what did we talk about? What did our neighbours want to talk about? What were their concerns and interests?'
Having done this, we might be in a position to think about how we share our faith with our neighbours in the light of their interests and concerns.
It's not rocket science. I've said it before. But I'm more and more convinced it's something we need to try.
I'm haunted by the fact that people under a certain age know very little about the church and the Christian faith and that people over a certain age know rather too much. Most of the people in our church are over a certain age and assume everyone knows as much about church as they do. More than that, they think everyone else is interested in the church and what it has to say.
What we need to learn is that not only do they not know anything about the church and the Christian faith, they are not interested in it either. All Bob mayo's research points in this direction. I think we'd have to conclude the same from David Voas' work.
But this isn't a bad thing. It just means we need to communicate with them in a different way to the way many of us have grown up with. Hence the need for parties where we listen and pour drinks, pass canapes or sausage rolls and hear our neighbours speaking...
Who knows, we might just hear the voice of God.