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Monday, October 19, 2009

What if churches closed?

This is question that has been asked before and I realize that there are a number of ways in which the answer can go but I am asking it in terms of reflecting on the impact of the church on a local community.

What would happen if your church closed its doors and stopped meeting on a Sunday and closed down all of its activities. Would anyone notice or be affected apart from the people who attend each week?

I realize that I am stuck on a tangent for the moment and I am trying to go out of my way to induce a deep sense of guilt but I am simply asking us to reflect on why we go to church. If we go to sing nice songs, to feel good, to hear an encouraging talk and to catch up with a particular social group then this needs to be acknowledged. These are not bad things but they need to be named and then the church can go on be an encouraging social club for a narrow demographic.

If this sounds uncomfortable or offensive then ask what further impact your local church makes to the local community and the wider world. I am reflecting on my own experiences in the church and, to be honest, if some churches closed no-one would notice and only the paid staff would have long-term concerns.

The next question that arises is "What do we do to ensure that the Church is an active agent of change and hope in society?"


lynne said...

Closing local churches would also allow a renewal of faith among many who assume that since they don't like the garbage there they can't be christian. What an opportunity to see Jesus from our heart out, rather than from the church in.

Les said...

What a great observation. It would not be easy finding ways to connect people with the message and love of Jesus but it would be greatly beneficial and, I agree, it would encourage those put off by church to reengage with God.

Meg said...

I went to a discussion group tonight with the ladies from my Christian Spiritualist Church, where I shared with them, some of my discouragement with evangelical churches and their attitude towards glbt people and one of the ladies said a beautiful and profound thing: "Maybe you've had that experience to show you that you don't need an external church to know God, you can know him better in here." (She tapped her chest)

She's right. If churches closed, I wouldn't be lost or alone or confused because God is not the church, and the church is not God. God is in the heart.