Sunday, February 03, 2008

Ringing the changes

It's the first day of our new Sunday pattern - and I'm quite excited!

We meet as normal this morning. Then this afternoon we have a classic-style service at 4:45 and a more contemporary, fluid one at 7pm.

A number of people have said they are coming to both which kind of defeats the object but also suggests that folk are not unwilling to try to new things which is good.

I'm slightly apprehensive that the church will feel emptier at these two services than it used to at the evening service - but that is one of the reasons for doing it: offering a predictable gathering that people can bring their friends to without fear of the service not being what they expect. So we're hoping that some who have dropped off in the evening because it's been neither fish nor fowl over the past year, will start coming again and that people will friends to explore what the Christian faith is all about in a gathering they will find accessible.

My aim is that twice the number will be gathering across the two services than came to one. I'm not sure when I'd like to reach that target but this time next year would be good.

I've been getting the home group notes on the next section of Matthew that we'll be reading together. It's the discourse on relationships in chapter 18. Some of the text is tricky but I have found it incredibly stimulating as I've actually been forced to ask what the text says (and what it doesn't) and discovered that it speaks very clearly into our journey towards expressing membership in a new way.

I'll blog on it properly when I've got my head around it, but suffice to say that often people refer to this passage as being about church discipline and yet it seems to be much more about mutual care and taking responsibility for one another's discipleship. Jesus calls each of us to be attentive to one another, offering gentle care and correction as we travel together.

Watch this space...

1 comment:

Catriona said...

I love that Matthew 18 passage, even wrote an essay on it that Peter Oakes asked for a copy of, so guess it was OK.

I love the bit in verse 17 '... treat them as you would a pagan or a tax-collector' (NIV). Hmm, and how did Jesus do that then?

I agree, it is about mutuality and responsibility. As Sean once pointed out to us, it is in the muddle and mayhem of real church life, with all its fallings out and struggles, that we find the reference to two or three gathering as the basis for the Shekinah or presence of Christ. Thank goodness the church doesn't have to be perfect first!

Have fun with your study prep. Hope your new services went well.