Monday, June 10, 2013

THE CHURCH OR THE PUB?

 

....what do you think?


A response to my one of my SC Letters I had a fascinating response from "Harold" (not his real name), a friend and pastor from "way back". He kindly disagreed with just about all that I said, quoting the numbers attending the mega churches in his country. He also described the house churches that he had heard of as, "a lot of turkeys scratching around with their heads down---instead of flying like eagles...reaching for the heights of God." Hmm!
 
He then told me about the church he attends and wrote, "the people rely on my ministry," which he said, "...makes it hard to break away." (revealing comments!)
 
Harold goes on, "I guess apart from the churchy (an interesting word!) communion, our best time of happy laughing fellowship is in the pub----when we go for lunch which can last from 1-3 hrs. People in the pub have come to look forward to this strange happy group, who can be free in fellowship without the usual drink associated for merriment."
 
Reading the above two paragraphs that describe two aspects of Harold's church life, I can't help asking myself a couple of questions. 1) If I had a choice of attending one or other of the two gatherings, where would I rather be? The churchy one where the people rely on Harold's ministry? Or, 2) (And this is the biggie). Which gathering is the most like a New Testament participatory, free and open fellowship meeting? It sounds to me like the first gathering is pulpit-centred, the second people-centred. An unorganised, joyful, relational, participatory gathering sending an unforced and clear witness that Christians aren't afraid of being in a pub, nor are they a miserable bunch of do-gooders. In other words, being church in the market place.
 
Yes, I know there's a need for teaching, prayer, baptisms and lots of other necessary aspects of church life. Is it remotely possible that these could also be done in a pub/club/McDonalds/river or wherever situation?
 
What do you think?
 
Your feedback is appreciated and welcome.
 
Jack

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