If you walk into our church building any day of the week there is sure to be something going on which engages the church in the widest sense even over and above the letting the halls to community groups. Consider this snapshot of a normal week. Sunday sees two worship services and this week a Dementia Awareness conference.
Monday sees Stitching Together, a craft group led by Karen which is drawing in people who might not engage with the church on a Sunday.
Tuesday is full on with Bairns’ Rock, an amazing ministry now in it’s sixth year, which is reaching and supporting families and Carers with young children. When I take an assembly in the local primary school it’s now quite special to see little children in school who were once tiny babies at bairns’ Rock. Tuesday evenings see the growing Wellbeing Choir where people come along and sing with the aim of feeling better as a result. Given it’s popularity, something good is clearly happening and again, some of the people it is attracting may have no other church contact.
Wednesday sees Karen’s creative arts group called Recreate, with an emphasis on unlocking and enabling God given creativity to flow more easily in the lives of those who participate. Yet again, there are people attending who don’t engage with church in a more traditional way, and this is very refreshing to see.
Thursday is another busy day, beginning in prayer and continuing with the Jubilee Lunch Club aimed at supporting the elderly but also attracting a more inter-generational crowd, including babies from the Baby Sensory class and others who enjoy the company. Thursday’s usually end the day with a worship practise session in the Sanctuary.
Friday’s are quiet until tea time when it’s time for the Boys Brigade to arrive. Ian McCallum and the other leaders have done a great job in attracting so many boys to come along and there is always a real buzz in the halls on Friday nights. It’s great to see the boys engaging with matters of faith, hearing Bible stories and praying. Saturday mornings have seen coffee mornings over the summer and the Chinese Community Bairns’ Rock Group which meets all year. Our Chinese friends are very friendly and we have good strong relationships with most of those who come along. It too is a growing group of people most of whom have no other church contact. Friday and Saturday nights see the Street Pastors operating from our halls and although we currently don’t have any of our church members on the team, that may change as they begin to recruit new pastors.
Which brings us back to Sunday. As you can see, our faith is genuinely covering 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. As its says in the book “ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church” by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost,
“so much of the Christian Church focusses on getting people into the pews on a Sunday morning as its highest goal. It has created its own legalism that defines holiness in terms of attendance instead of as communion with God in every area of their week and life. It has shifted its preference to Sunday, but it is no less paralysed by the legalism that silenced the Pharisees.”
Our faith is therefore rightly to be seen as something which concerns every moment of every day. This is not about being busy for busyness’ sake. Busyness can be a great distracter and energy-sapper in the church. Which is why we always need to keep in step with the Spirit of God. It’s about keeping on with the Good News of the Gospel and not giving up.
As Paul says, we keep pressing “on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14). In another letter he writes keep on sowing for “in time we will reap a harvest IF we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Never give up is the theme in much of what the Bible teaches us. To keep on keeping on, with our focus on Jesus, zealous for the Lord, bringing Jesus into every situation and every relationship. If Jesus isn’t at the heart of ALL that we are, ALL that we do, then we are running in the wrong direction. Never give up trusting in God’s love is how the prophet Isaiah puts it. That’s why we keep on reaching out, we keep on sharing, we keep on trying new things, we keep on seeking to engage others, we keep on casting, we keep on loving. All because our trust is in God’s enduring love revealed to us, and brought to us in Christ. So thank you for all your ‘keeping on’, for never giving up. Truly we will see a harvest IF we continue to do so.
When I’m tempted to give up,
Be my Strength and my Guide.
May your Kingdom come and your will be done,
In my life, and in the lives of my brothers and sisters,
As you build us up,
As your Body.