Saturday, February 26, 2022

How to weld a church

A church, particularly a smaller one (I mean one that is fewer than 500 members), might sometimes consider that it is isolated and, well, small. But it still has plenty of options to build its community.

If you are not in a traditional formal setting, you don't use the church calendar to pace your year; except for Easter and Christmas, of course. No Epiphany, Candlemas, Pentecost, and even Lent and Advent don't get a real run, let alone the Christians who've paved the way for us ('saints' in traditional parlance).

So, what to do?

I can think of three major celebrations that each church could and probably should have:

1. End of January

This can be a thanksgiving and dedication gathering for all those who volunteer in various off-Sunday ministry activities and groups, a type of Candlemas: Bible Study/Home Groups, outreach ministries, community service (I mean the community of Christ) groups, etc. A couple of contributions from those involved, specific prayer for their work would be essential components. Please model the prayer on Paul's in the NT.

Combine this with a church lunch, or a dinner that evening with a guest speaker and the whole church gets involved in the wider work of their family.

2. Church anniversary of foundation

Each church has, or can estimate, its date of founding. Celebrate it with a thanksgiving 'service', a review of the recent history and growth, an up-scale lunch or dinner: even a dinner the Friday before in an external location, or catered on site, if possible.

This could be an occasion to invite some local dignitaries and politicians along both to make contact and to perhaps introduce them quietly to Christian life.

If you can't determine the foundation day, then celebrate on Trinity Sunday (or on Pentecost; the anniversary of the founding of the church universal) which floats around (it is a 'movable feast' but you could settle it in mid June). While you are at it, you could expound the doctrine of the Trinity and its connection with the Creation (Genesis 1 and John 1), or the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, if you are thinking of Pentecost. Indeed it could be a whole week of teaching, learning and prayer on the theme.

3. End of November

At the start of Advent, and the end of the traditional church year, a bookend for the End of January, but this time, thanksgiving for the work and ministry of volunteers; perhaps not a lunch or dinner this time, but an  up-scale morning tea might be in order, where the volunteers can take the role of waiters to the congregants.

New staff

Whenever new staff, part or full-time, are engaged, a church welcome, dedication and thanksgiving needs to occur. At a church a relative attends a new administrator commenced work and it was merely mentioned in the weekly bulletin. A new minister gets all the razzle, yet Paul includes 'administrators' as ministers of the church. See 1 Corinthians 12:28.

She should also have been brought before the congregation, perhaps asked a couple of introducing questions, prayed over and her role explained.

These are all means of building community and enriching church life, of people getting to know each other, pray with each other and appreciate their brethren. To engage with the mission and vision of the church (the scriptural mission and vision, not the cooked up ones of contemporary interest).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.