Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Christians Come Home

Lassie Come Home Poster
During Advent two young people (twenties) came to worship at St. Paul's with friends. Afterward both had conversations with the ones who brung 'um and conceded with some surprise that it wasn't nearly as bad as they thought it would be. Actually, one was taken aback that people laughed in church and seemed to be fairly decent folk. The other was surprised that the sermon actually addressed a subject (forgiveness) which was on his mind, and the examples he heard were contemporary. Go figure...we are actually attempting to live out our Christian faith in the 21st century.

Hey, I appreciate that the experience of worship many people remember is like that one experience with bad crab dip. Crab dip might be tasty, but you're not going to risk a return to that bowl on the snack table.  The Roman Catholic church in Vancouver  has a television ad campaign at the moment called Catholics Come Home which invites the quarter million lapsed members in the diocese to return. Traditionally denominations, including the United Church,  are hurting and they are willing to try some unconventional things to get their folk back. At the risk of seeming unkind, the ad campaign sounds a little like Lassie Come Home.

I don't know what to think these days. I do attempt to be relevant (whatever that means) and I couldn't care less if people show up in jeans rather than a suit jacket. I am ready and willing to address current social issues, and for me a committed couple is a committed couple, regardless of gender. I like a lot of contemporary worship music, although some of it just stinks (lots of traditional hymns stink as well.)

I am convinced that it is up to us to explore what works best in conveying the gospel of Jesus Chrsit. But that's the thing. This is about the Good News of Christ, who transforms lives and makes us whole. An aspect of that message is that we are not who we are meant to be (that's the sin part) but we can always start again. That's something to celebrate, and even to laugh about. The Jesus Thing is the main thing, and no amount of tinkering can take that away.

What are your thoughts about all this? Does it make sense to spend half a million like the RC's in Lotus Land to try to lure people back. I suppose our United Church version is Wonder Cafe. Do you have any keys to unlocking the mystery?


IanD said...

I love the place! Heck, what's not to love?

A ship is only as good as its captain and crew, and St. Paul's is gifted in terms of both. I find your anecdote interesting because it really shows how an old building can be judged on its appearance alone.

I think once those solar panels go up? It will serve as as symbol to "church shoppers" that our place is worth exploring.

roger said...

I think it does make sense to spend the money to bring people back. Like anything else, efforts need to be made for retention of membership. I don't see why it would be any different for the church.

Now pass the crab dip.

Laura said...

I think there might be merit in inviting folks back....If it could help some to realize that we are always welcomed back into God's guilt lead explanation for absence should ever be required.
Funny, I find the UC actually makes me feel relevant.....and a little less random in this weird and wonderful world of ours.