Watch this short clip of Francis Chan video ‘Fellowship’ on youtube before reading.
It got me thinking about what we do in our own communities to offer that fellowship to those who come into the church, but more importantly those who remain outside. Because it strikes me we’ve got to do something radical if we want to bring people into our churches today. You see, the church is no longer the place were people go because that’s the way they’ve been brought up. The church is for many a completely alien environment.
We’ve only got to look at our baptism services to see that, when our baptism guests arrive. I wonder how do we welcome them? I get really wound up by people who comment on the attire of the guests as they come into church. Men in slick suits, women wearing high heels and short skirts. You know its not that their showing disrespect – its completely the opposite!!! They are getting dressed up in their best clothes, the clothes they would go out in. They are making a real effort, they put their best clothes on – it’s a sign of respect! Sometimes we need to get over ourselves and start seeing things from a different perspective.
And it seems to me, that ‘Fellowship’ is all to do with belonging. In the video, the gang member was looking for that togetherness, that belonging. A tight community. Is that what were about? Are we living that? How can we live that in our churches? What can we do that grows that kind of community. Because its obvious to me that if we are united, if we can develop that kind of fellowship then we have something to offer. Something that people want. Something that people are looking for.
Its got to be exciting!
You know I was watching my little son Isaac, he’s 1 in a couple of weeks, he’s crawling everywhere at the moment. It’s a nightmare, everything has had to be moved out of reach for safety reasons!!!
But you know, you watch him and everything’s exciting, everything’s new and amazing. He’s loving life. Loving the freedom that life brings.
Galatians 5; 13 says this For you were called to freedom. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
I wonder how do we serve one another? Are we still excited about our faith? Is it still an adventure? Because if we’ve lost that excitement then how are we going to excite others enough to bring them into the fellowship of faith!!
And finally, another of Isaac’s developmental traits. Everything goes into his mouth. Everything – Even the dogs tail!!!!
But his only way of testing something of experiencing something is to taste it. Psalm 34;8 says ‘taste and see that the Lord is Good’.
I think perhaps as we get older, we become more cautious of tasting new things. Sometimes we become wary of new things, of changing our palette! I wonder, do we offer God’s goodness to those in our parishes. Do we offer a broad variety of tastes, a varied diet that enables us to encompass all? How can we do things differently and how can we encourage others to ‘taste and see that the Lord is Good’?