As conservative evangelicals we sometimes criticise non-Bible-teaching churches for being ‘just a social club’, but isn’t there also a danger that church sometimes isn’t enough of a social club? Part of church should be really enjoying being together, having a laugh, sharing experiences, eating together, catching up on news, caring, praying, crying and celebrating together. There can be a danger that we make church too academic - listening to a lecture on Sunday and studying the material more in-depth in the week. Those are very good things to do, but they shouldn’t be all that we do together as Christians.
We’re often told that church is the people, not the building - which is true. Church also isn’t just the formal gathering on a Sunday, or in mid-week housegroups. Whenever God’s people get together, we’re doing ‘church’. (“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matt 18: 20). So how can we get better at meeting together and helping our non-Christian friends to be a valued part of the community?
About 18 months ago, I started a pool night for friends from church to come along and bring their non-church friends. It’s great that my church support this initiative and I’m encouraged by all those come along. It’s a great fun evening, and you don’t have to be good at pool (or even play it) to enjoy the night. It’s a chance to hang out, meet new people, eat hot dogs and nachos and have a laugh. Last month we had 17 people along, which I think was a record! My hope and prayer is that more people will bring along their friends from different backgrounds and beliefs so that we can get to know one another and enjoy community together. Next pool night is this Friday, 24 Oct from 7pm at The Hustler.
Building on this, I want to explore more ways to grow authentic community. I wrote here about our vision for the new house. I see it as a ministry house - a place where people can pop in, hang out and relax. Where community can be built and nourished. Where different friendship groups can mix in an easy environment. Where we can share experiences and create shared memories. Where prayer can happen in the middle of a cocktail party. Where the Bible can be explored during a BBQ. Where friendships can be deepened over a game of Fluxx. Where questions of faith can be wrestled with over a pizza or casserole. Where the sacred / secular divide is crossed and we can live our lives honestly alongside each other with respect, love, grace and truth.
Please continue to pray for the house-buying process. Everything has been signed and we're just waiting for someone further up the chain and then we should be able to exchange contracts. We'd love to get the keys in the next few weeks so that we can sort everything out, move and get settled in by Christmas. Thank you for your commitment and support during these exciting times!
In : Church
Tags: mission evangelism community "pool night"