getting, giving and church

A Christian (individual, family, couple, etc.) immigrates to a new country for work.  They find a place to live.

  • Trajectory One: They then begin to seek out a church that is right for them.  Using search engines and map apps, they plan out which churches in their new city they will try out.  They enjoy the preaching at some churches and the music at others, they are impressed at the apparent organisation and websites of a few others, and visit several churches that are obviously not what they are looking for.  After a few months of visiting different churches, they visit a large church near the city centre, so the larger size meant that during the sermon as they looked down from the second-story seating area, they could spot plenty of people their own age.  They felt pretty comfortable in the smoothly run service – no awkward pauses – and the church looked to be clearly successful and growing, so after a few weeks they decide to join.  They then begin looking for a life group that is right for them, they find out what the church provides, what their options are, etc…
  • Trajectory Two: They then begin to seek out a church to serve within.  Within the first few days of settling into their house, getting groceries and suchlike, they notice that a church is just a few blocks away, so they go on Sunday morning and introduce themselves.  Being a residentially-based church, it’s not too large, and naturally there aren’t too many people their own age, but they could see no reason why this church would hinder them in their desire to serve the community around where they lived, and after a few weeks, a kind older couple has them around for lunch.  Meanwhile, they already have begun to learn about the surrounding community, not only discovering where the best restaurants and other ‘hot spots’ are, but also its needs and ministry opportunities.  They discover that while the local church has a few ministries that bless the community, there are some needs currently unaddressed.  So, they begin to think, pray and discuss with others what could be done…

If it’s not blatantly obvious, the two trajectories above couldn’t be more different.  One reflects a ‘getting’ consumer-driven approach that seeks to find a church for me, and enjoyable sermons, music, attractive marketing that you can be proud of, a home group with people like me, etc.  The other reflects a ‘giving’ kingdom-driven approach that seeks to find a church for ministry and mission to others.

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3 Responses to getting, giving and church

  1. Trajectory Three: They then begin to seek out a church that is right for them. They plan out which churches in their new city they will try out. They enjoy the preaching at some small local churches and the music at others, they are impressed at the smallness and local-focused vision of a few others, and visit several churches that are obviously not what they are looking for. After a few months of visiting different churches, they visit a small church down the road from their house, the smaller size and democratic voting system appealed as it meant that they could probably sway the majority at AGMs and really get the church to change to suit them. So after a few weeks they decide to join.

    Trajectory Four: They then begin to seek out a church to serve within. Within the first few days of settling into their house, they see a church in town, so they go on Sunday morning and introduce themselves. Being a city centre-based church, it’s quite large, and naturally there are heaps of people their own age, but they could see no reason why this church would hinder them in their desire to serve the community around where they lived, and that day after church, a kind young couple has them around for lunch. Meanwhile, they already have begun to learn about the surrounding community, not only discovering where the best restaurants and other ‘hot spots’ are, but also its needs and ministry opportunities. They discover that while the city church has many ministries that bless the community, there are some needs currently unaddressed. So, they begin to think, pray and discuss with others what could be done…

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  2. Or, a twist to the tale

    Epilogue to trajectory one: The small group they join challenges them in their faith and they begin to think of ways to serve their community… a large church has the ability to help a lot of people and the couple find that they really enjoy helping out struggling young families within their church

    Epilogue to trajectory two: The local church appears stuck in an unbreakable routine. The new couple tire of being hectored by a grumpy minister and listening to an out-of-tune piano every Sunday, and the congregation seems insular and afraid of the outside world. No wonder all the young people left

    All conjecture of course :)

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  3. Amen, ropata.

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