New people come to church. In staff meeting we discuss them. Families are particularly enticing.\n\nWe say how useful they will be in the future in helping to run the church.\n\nBut, if they only come once a month to ‘messy church’ how will they become involved?\n\nThe truth is, we have just as much trouble wondering how to move people from occasional attendance to faithful commitment as we do in moving people from no faith to faith.\n\nWhat steps should we take?\n\nPerhaps first we should change the way we talk about people. Then we may change the way we talk to people.
Don is a great businessman with a deep need for inner meaning and security. For great businessman read millionaire. For meaning and security read wisdom and groundedness.
Don walks across the corridor to Jack’s office a couple of times a week to talk, to reflect out loud. Which is fine by Jack, because Jack is a great listener and genuinely wise.
Don stays for about half an hour, sometimes longer. They talk, or rather, Don talks, energetically for most of the time. Jack offers his reflections. Don learns. Don is encouraged. Filled up. Refreshed.
When Don leaves Jack turns back to his computer and is overwhelmed by his need for money. Cash. The need to survive presses in on Jack. Jack’s broke. Jack has no work. And no money. He wonders again: where can he go to get help with that?
Sunday. 10.55am.\n\nPeople spread across a church building. Capacity 250. Occupancy 25.\n\n11.05am. The vicar (late) gives the notices (10 minutes) and announces the first hymn.\n\nOther liturgical stuff until\n\n11.30am. Sermon (obscure and opinionated), but with no adrenaline to power it all collective energy has dissipated.\n\nEveryone – vicar, organist, congregation – slogs through the next 45 minutes.\n\n12.15pm. Coffee (cool) … (no, that’s really, cool, as in tepid).\n\nThen home (phew!).\n\nThank goodness that’s over for another week.
Number of Carol services per year: 4\n\nNumber of Guests at Carol services per year: 400\n\nNumber of Social evenings per year: 3\n\nNumber of Guests at Social evenings per year: 15 (spouses, usually husbands)\n\nNumber of Guest Services per year: 2\n\nNumber of Guests at Guest Services per year: 4\n\nNumber of People who became Christians through this church this year: 0
Wisdom … is the ability to live skilfully, the ability to choose to live rightly, to choose to produce things of lasting value to God and the community (ibid).\n\nWisdom … the ability to understand, to distinguish between things, to compare concepts, form evaluations, to make analogies (ibid).\n\nWisdom … to distinguish permanent values from immediate gratification (ibid).\n\n(From NIVBC Vol1).