Friday, 13 March 2009

I've had some wonderful daily church this week!

February 14 2009

Hubby took me to Starbucks for a strawberry creme frappuccino, and to Tim's for a bagel this morning! Happy Valentine's Day!

So today was exciting because I finally got my Mother's Journey site finished!

I have just joined a group on the 'net called simple church .... I also got started on pulling out notes on my "journey" church-wise ... Now to get them posted...

I have been wondering what to do about "going to church" now that I don't "have to" ...

I did go out for a walk mid-day. It was beautifully sunny but kind of chilly. An interesting thing happened. I stepped into the Christian bookstore (which I haven't done for a long time). I was "browsing"... and "eavesdropping" on the owner and and another man having a conversation about the church and about so many people "dropping out" ... and the store guy says that it seems like an awful lot of the "drop outs" are far more dedicated to really following Christ wholeheartedly than the ones who stay.

They were talking about the "economics" of "the church" too... and were saying that churches are finding it harder and harder to cover their budgets these days... and that a lot are having to downsize or to close down "ministries" because the building and pastoral salary costs take up all the income... and that the majority of the giving now comes from those aged 60 and up.

And they were also talking about how churches are finding it harder and harder to find funds to hire associate pastors like youth pastors... and that it seems like the "criteria" for affording a youth pastor, for example, is the number of youth that turn up to youth group. And that it seems this "cost effective factor" is leading to "successful youth groups" that are more and more the ones which provide "safe entertainment for teens" versus providing spiritual guidance and discipling. Some very "popular" programs even use secular music and videos etc rather than "Christian" ones.

The store wasn't very large, and I had "browsed" the entire place about 3 times by the time the conversation ended (it was getting a bit embarrassing going round and round!). But I was really glad I heart it (even if "eavesdropping" isn't exactly cool...). Sometimes I feel like nobody I know wants to talk about these things... I was thinking it would be so great if the owner put in a few chairs or a couch or even some cushions on the floor so people could just come in, sit around, and talk about the Lord and the church and such. I think it would be a good place, because people from all kinds of different "Christian backgrounds" go there, and it could be a good way for the "church at our city" (shades of the NT churches...) to meet informally.... not to mention the non-believers who drop in there out of curiosity.

Anyway, I've had some wonderful daily church this week - the "street people coffee time" on Tuesday morning (I like the back alley entrance, the long stairwell that direly needs a vacuuming, and the real people and honest, open conversation!)... then watching that "Truth Project" video on Wednesday, and having a good conversation afterward with some of the other people watching it (but... the conversation wasn't about the video, but rather about "the church" as it is described in scripture, and how that's different from what we've been experiencing in "going to church" ... and how those differences are maybe a big part of the "difficulties" "our church" has been struggling with)...

and coffee with a former student and her friend also on Wednesday... and then a good long phone conversation with a friend on Thursday about our longings for "real church"; and supper together and good visiting on Friday with some fellow believers; and phone visits with each of my daughters today... as well as that conversation at the book store....

So I don't know if I'll be "going to church" at "our church" tomorrow (Sunday)... I've been thinking of dropping in again at the "church in the park" where coffee and a hot breakfast are available for street people, and friendship and open discussion, and even hats and mitts and such available for those who need them on these cold winter days... not run by "a church" as "a ministry" but simply a group of believers (from "different Christian backgrounds") who want to share Jesus by following His example! That's church too!

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