Not a Preach
One good thing about a blog - it's not a preach, so I can get away with saying things that I might not normally say.
This week I came across an interesting survey. The whole survey can be found at http://www.pewforum.org/2018/05/29/being-christian-in-western-europe /.
How good a survey it is, or how accurate, I cannot say. However it made me think...
"Most adults surveyed still do consider themselves Christians, even if they seldom go to church. Indeed, the survey shows that non-practicing Christians (defined, for the purposes of this report, as people who identify as Christians, but attend church services no more than a few times per year) make up the biggest share of the population across the region. In every country except Italy, they are more numerous than church-attending Christians (those who go to religious services at least once a month). In the United Kingdom, for example, there are roughly three times as many non-practicing Christians (55%) as there are church-attending Christians (18%) defined this way."
If that is close to accurate then practicing Christians are almost 1 in 5 (20%). That means that every fifth house in your street is Christian. We might argue that going to church doesn't make you a Christian or more correctly our type of Christian. So how do we reach the other 55% of non-practicing Christians? The article goes on to say that many are turned off church by the hypocrisy, or have been hurt in the past, or don't even see Church as relevant to them.
Maybe we need to reinvent what we mean by Church...….yes, still the gathered community but, maybe, gathered for what?
The world is changing. I remember the day that I found that society changed. It was a small moment in history, hardly a footnote but looking back, how important it was. They say that history swings on small hinges.
My parents were normal working folks, my dad worked hard all week returning home on a Friday night with a pay packet full of money which he gave to my mum who separated it into different piles, and then put those piles away in tins around the house to pay for coal/gas, rent etc. I had a part time job in a local supermarket.
The change to society from my perspective came when I was given a Shopping Catalogue. I could buy my new tape player and pay for it in 20 easy weekly payments and the CREDIT culture was born. Now we all live on credit, and its not a good thing. We don't have to save to buy. We simply buy, and buy, and buy.
This changed society and church. The idea of regular giving, or tithing (giving a 10th of your income) is lost on most Christians. This is further compounded by the TV adds of give just £3 a month to save "the lesser spotted toad" etc. If charities can function on just £3 a month then surely my church can do the same. It's about mindsets, and those have changed. For Christians, giving should be one of the most important things we can do, whether a 10th or more. I know some will say (and have said) the idea of a 10th is Old Testament, but it was accepted as the norm by the early 1st Century church. In fact they went one step further and those that had land and property sold it and came and laid it at the disciples feet so that the hungry could be fed (Acts 2:42).
We have forgotten that church (i.e. the building and its works) are ours. We own it, run it, finance it and make it happen. We don't go to services and pay £3 a month to it. We own the work of the church and that takes real financial commitment. Without our commitment, the church will cease to exist.
Jesus demonstrated His love by giving Himself, what do we give?
So here is the next quiz! They are starting to get harder and the questions may or may not have more than one answer.