Saturday, July 28, 2007

The church has left the building – Part 2

World Vision, Outreach and Zondervan have joined together for Faith in Action: Be the Church. “Faith in Action is a 4-week, church-wide campaign that creates in your congregation an outward focus and a heart to serve. Faith in Action culminates in a Sunday where regular services are cancelled and the entire congregation engages in service projects in, and with, the community.” (PutYourFaithInAction.org)

The perception of Christians and the Church is that we are only concerned about ourselves. Walk into most any church and this become readily apparent: we sing songs from memory (The Doxology), say prayers from memory (The Lord’s Prayer), say litanies/confession from memory (The Apostle’s Creed), use “church lingo” that makes no sense to someone not from the flock (what the heck is a “session?”), pastors wear goofy robes that set them apart from everyone else, etc.

Most Christians do care about the world beyond the walls of the church—I am just convinced that they do not know how to go about a focused ministry beyond the church. Our churches are filled with individuals who have individual concerns and interests (don’t get me wrong—this is ok). The challenge is that our churches do not have a focused outreach to the communities in which we live. What happens is one person volunteers at this place, another volunteers at that place and yet another person volunteers at another place. The local church has no local ministry/mission focus.

Faith in Action provides the springboard for a local church to gain focus in local ministry/mission. Our church has a worship attendance of around 100. For our Faith in Action campaign we will be involved in three or four local projects. One project will be designed for those who do not the physical ability to do physical labor/work. One project will be for our Saturday night worship group. Two projects (I am guessing here) will be for the rest of our Sunday morning worship group.

The thought of having our entire church involved in local ministry/mission on a given weekend sends chills up and down my spine.

3 Comments:

At 7:52 PM , Blogger Benjamin P. Glaser said...

I support the idea behind this but cancelling Sunday Worship is a poor way to show people Church matters.

 
At 8:27 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

I read it as only one Sunday worship cancelled to kick off the service projects. That's a great way to inspire participation.

"The challenge is that our churches do not have a focused outreach to the communities in which we live." ....there it is again. The sound of the nail being hit squarely on the head.

 
At 11:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had an elder suggest we close the doors of the church and visit one Sunday so that when we talk to people they can't say "We go to church at _______" when they're obviously home then.

The people you'll meet that day will be the one's who can't use that excuse either.

BTW, in ancient times the Saturday vigil before Easter lasted all night with scripture readings and ended with near sun rise. Then at the normal hours, the church was vacant.

We've abbreviated it into the custom of the Sunrise Service. Perhaps having one of them first would be a good compromise.

 

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