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There is an article on environmental issues that I have recently read caused me to consider comparisons with Christians in the church. The article suggested that the environmental movement was considered a niche area, a subject not accessible to ordinary citizens because of the way those in the lobby act and promote their views. And in a sense the same criticisms can be levelled at the church.
While the church is still able to promote its viewpoint and quite capable of pointing out the problems with others, it finds it much harder to engage people directly on matters of concern to them. Christians get pigeon-holed, when it wants to be seen as meeting people and challenging people where they are in the way Christ did.
Perhaps that is why some object to marketing/promotion used in a Christian context, because it rarely feels like engagement?
Jason Clark has written a thought-provoking post on people’s differing views on Jesus and the church. That is, understanding how people are attracted to the life of Jesus, but frustrated or let down by the church. It is obviously a subject that resonates because it has 33 comments already.
And we do need to look at how the church, supposedly the body of Christ can too often be the thing that keeps people from Jesus … Yet lets also unmask the myth of people being into Jesus and not the church. Are people really into Jesus? Maybe in the way we are into a celebrity … But to follow him, believe in him, do what he did, lay down my life for others, is that really the Jesus people are into?
David Kenney in Relevant Magazine has written an interesting article on his friends leaving the church. He writes:
Recently some friends my age left the church that I go to, and I have to say; I felt kind of slighted by the whole thing. Now they are going to a different church, and I am sure they have their reasons. But it just feels like it wasn’t just the church they left: it feels like they left me. The next time I saw them, I asked how things were going, but ultimately I really wanted to know why they had moved on.
His comments are interesting in respect of the idea that church members expect to ‘be fed’ when they attend church and the rights and wrongs of that.
Andrew Rigg has also posted this week on another aspect of this, when churches actively try to poach members from other local congregations. How is a pastor meant to deal with this and how should they feel. There are also some interesting comments to this post that are worth reading.
And yesterday, on the slightly different topic of people leaving the established church, but not to another church, but to communal living, Andrew Jones has posted on Leaving Church. This is in relation to missional living and taking the emphasis of church away from buildings. He writes;
If you live in the UK and have left the church, but have not abandoned the body of Christ and still want you and your friends to be a part of God’s mission and party, send me an email to let me know who you are and a link to your website if you have one. We are putting together a website that will be dedicated to empowering people like you to be the church where you are