Posted by: Peaceful Social Worker | March 11, 2012

Thoughts about church

 I saw this on Facebook recently and it got me thinking. Well, actually I have been thinking about how to “do church” for some time. This just seemed to put pictures to my thoughts.

I am not always good not always comfortable with talking about what I believe. There are probably many reasons for this. Speaking about one’s faith can be difficult at the best of times. It is hard to quantify or prove. Perhaps the shy kid I used to be still lives in me. I have found my voice, and anyone who knows me, knows I have little problem expressing my opinion most times. So why is it difficult for me to speak about what I believe.

I grew up in the church. I am comfortable with the language and routine. My mother’s background is Anglican, and my father’s United Church and Methodist. My great-grandfather was a Free Methodist who used the bible as a weapon. Perhaps his ghost is hanging around ready to clobber me if I don’t get it right. Probably not. Or probably only in my head. For most of us, church involves going on a Sunday morning, listening to readings, singing hymns, listening to a sermon. Traditionally, lay people were not overly involved with the service. In a church where the clergy is educated, they become the “experts” who educate the congregation. Well, as part of their roles anyway.

Our congregation has been through some changes and challenges in the past couple of years. We have gone from a full time, long serving minister, to an interim minister for a year, and now a part time minister who we share with another congregation. We have had to learn to become more involved in our worship leadership. We now have worship teams made up of about four people each. These teams take turns leading worship when we do not have a minister to lead worship. Even when the minister is here, there is some lay involvement somehow in the service. It has been an excellent experience. We are getting to know each other better, and are stretching our own comfort zones. I have written and preached a couple of sermons now. I can assure you, that is something I never thought I’d EVER do!

My congregation  may be in a position to be looking for another place to worship in the next year or so. That makes me wonder what our next step will be. It also makes me wonder where churches in general need to be heading. I recently learned that the church undergoes significant changes about every 500 years or so. Apparently we are due now. The cartoon shows people in rows in the old versions of church, work and school, and circles in the current versions of work and school. What will the next version of church look like? If you could design a worship space, what would it look like? Would you build a traditonal worship space with pews and altars?

No church can be prospered in which all the ministration comes from the pulpit.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

 

I am suspicious of that church whose members are one in their beliefs and opinions. When a tree is dead, it will lie any way; alive, it will have its own growth. When men’s deadness is in the church, and their life elsewhere, all will be alike. They can be cut and polished any way. When they are alive, they are like a tropical forest–some shooting up, like the mahogany tree; some spreading, like the vine; some darkling, like the shrub; some lying, herb-like, on the ground; but all obeying their own laws of growth–a common law of growth variously expressed in each–and so contributing to the richness and beauty of the wood.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Life Thoughts

 

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Responses

  1. Thank you sharing such a personal post as I know how difficult it can be to share our innermost thoughts. Kudos to your sermons as I believe women offer a perspective that is much needed in gatherings, and the system of leadership definitely sounds dynamic which inspires excitement and positive new changes!

    As for location, this can be tough as we generally have had issues with locating space as well based on cost, accessibility, and the like. Perhaps it’s a matter of ‘shopping’ around, praying to God about it, and seeing what unfolds before you while keeping an open mind? Perhaps even having PowerPoint photos of each location based on the top three or four and have a collective vote of some sort? Not everyone will agree, but this would answer your question about traditional versus modern or combination of both as a design as movement to any new home, especially a congregation that probably needs a lot of parking, will have its moving pains and transition that could be made more easily with collective minds (although that can prove to be a burden as well, but ultimately, it does need to have a deadline and an ultimate decision maker(s)).

    Hope that helps, and keep us posted! 😀

    • Thanks Pink. I think we are ready to move now. We’ve been through a lot, and the process has come to this. It is good. I do also believe the board has found a place that we can rent initially. I think things will indeed work out. It is kind of exciting really, since it is an opportunity for change and growth. 🙂

      • Absolutely! 😀 Finding a new home for a congregation isn’t easy, but with enthusiasm to turn any disadvantage into a benefit, I’m sure everyone will share in the cheer and efforts needed to be done to make it their new home. Hopefully you’ll share photos? Perhaps even post some tips? 😀

      • I’m sure I’ll be giving updates on this! I might even have a photo or two. Most of the photos I have posted are ones I have taken.

      • Looking forward to it! 😀

  2. He’s taking me over some hurdles
    I know he’s there 🙂


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