Confession time. I've found it really hard getting back on the hamster wheel.
Autumn is coming and I need a teaching programme for the church. I've tried this and that, one permutation of topics with another of exposition - you know the kind of thing... And always at the back of my mind has been the nagging question 'why?'
I've blogged before about how the church is good at teaching programmes but not very good at learning outcomes (as you can see from the fact that I'm bloigging about this again!) I have been constantly thinking as I've wrestled with dates and deadlines, subjects and scriptures 'what's the point of all this?'
Our church has a reputation as a good teaching church. but is anyone learning anything? Isn't the autumn just one more turn round the hamster wheel where we move from week to week tackling a new meaty subject before we've had the chance to digest last week's meal?
And what difference does it make? are our people better equipped to make sensible judgements about relationships, decisions about what to spend their money on? Are they kinder, gentler, more gracious and out-going people at work? Do they embody the values of Jesus in their daily lives and conversation?
So I was having a chat yesterday with one of our young adults, an intelligent, thoughtful committed guy, who was telling me - in effect - that he was all sermoned out. What he'd really like is a chance to reflect on what we're learning, interact with others learning the same things, pray through issues we're facing at home and work.
Of course, we get a chance to do this in home groups. But the trouble is that church on Sundays just gives a whole load more stuff to process and really nowhere to go and process it.
So, as I've said before, we're going to try to be even more interactive at our Later Service on Sundays, more responsive to where people are at with the material we've already engaged with, more alert to the issues people have faced in the previous week and how what we're learning might help them face them more faithfully.
In short we're going to try to turn our hamster wheel into a hamster ball - something that actually goes somewhere rather than just round and round in circles.