Occupy The Church
The “Occupy Wall Street” has gained world-wide momentum, and local groups have “occupied” their own cities calling for change.
I wonder: if it’s systemic change that we’re seeking, maybe we in the church could go for an “occupy” movement. Occupy the church! (…in a different way than the “Back to Church” sentiment…!)
What kind of systemic change is needed? The simple answer: less “save ourselves,” and more “be open to others.”
It seems to me that churches have, for too long, sought to preserve themselves. The idea of “mission church” or “church plant” or “church start-up” is to create what we’ve created before. Namely, that we build a building, have people come, and raise money to support that and other church-edifying endeavours. That works, certainly. But it works, primarily, for those who have had a connection to church. It works for those who know about church.
What about those who don’t know about church? Does our language suite them? What about those who have a negative impression of church? Does our space and decor allow them to feel comfortable? What about those who have been excluded from church? Does our style of welcome change their impression?
For too long, we’ve been doing things ‘a certain way,’ and it works for those of us ‘on the inside.’ The problem is: we fear going to new places. We fear it because it may mean that the new folks darkening our door-ways may not put as much money in the plate, or that they may want to change the focus from Sunday attendance to daily living, or from Bible study to community activity.
If we want to have a church in the future, we must be open to other ways of reaching out. Yes, we have a tradition to preserve – but let’s not let that prevent us from connecting with those all-important ‘un-churched’ people. And, us ‘churched’ people could go for a make-over!