Monday, 29 April 2013

So many ideas - So few to take them up

Last night past conversations crowded in. One upon another they crashed together causing sparks and yet, despite the highly flammable material of life, there was not even a hint of smouldering!

I woke with a start as the memories of so many opportunities for engagement were identified, acknowledged and . . . Passed by!

People issued the cry, 'Why doesn't someone do something about [insert any need you might have identified]?' That done, they look at me to provide an endorsement of their perspicacity and well-honed Christian missional skills and agree that, 'There must be someone!' And of course there is. But who?

So far this year I've worked with people in various settings and circumstances and, between us, we have tried:

+ sign up' sheets - but no one signed them!

+ vision meetings - but myopia appeared to rule!

+ training courses - but Downturn Abbey provided a greater attraction!

Many years ago I read a book by Richard Bach (illusions) which contained the words, 'Argue for your limitations and, surely, they are yours!'

I have found this year to contain more people who have told me why they can't do anything (it wasn't even 'more'); more people who have bemoaned the lack of engagement from 'the church' and complained about those who, 'Need to do more!'

I have engaged with people who are full of promise and ability who have promised much and delivered so much less than nothing as their inactivity (always accompanied by a reason and often an accusation) also debilitated others and rendered them, and us, impotent and defeated too!

There are eight months left to us in this current year:

+ eight months to make the case for all-member engagement (collaborative church)

+ eight months to motivate and mobilise members (courses, sermons, vision meetings) with no quarter given

+ eight months to get the message across that being Christian is not a hobby

Those who come to church, those on PCC or DCC, Volunteers, Pew Warmers, Lay Ministers, Clergy (for no one is exempt) - the gauntlet has to be laid down (and taken up).

It's so hard to smile and nod when people tell you that they can see the needs but don't care (they don't use those words, they merely absent themselves or tell you about their hobby, family, whatever; that takes them away to other things).

It's galling when people tell you that they've been challenged by something they heard so went somewhere else to avoid the feeling again!

So here is a plea to all who read this:

Get involved, get praying, get engaging or get the estate agent in and get ready to close our doors. We can no longer exist as museums showing where 'God used to live'; architecturally magnificent holy shrines to a former age; holy huddles who exist to meet for themselves, not their communities and certainly not God.

So here’s another line drawn - another challenge issued.

Please hear it, pass it on and respond to the call.



Soup D said...

We recently had a speaker at our church who asked for volunteers to champion a community project. One person put her hand up to get involved; three spoke to him afterwards to explain why they couldn't; the rest merely listened and went home.

My sadness was with the middle group - those who were touched by his message, could see and understand the need he was addressing, but could only find excuses not to be involved.

Takes me back to a slogan attached to out notice board last year:
If something is important to you, you will find a way. If it isn't, you will find an excuse.

So often in church, we find excuses to salve our conscience when we dont have the passion, commitment or confidence to make a stand, while the world looks on and wonders what makes us different from them?!

UKViewer said...

So, when you want to make a commitment and the church finds ways to negate your offer, where does that leave both you and the church?

I'm not going to dwell on this, last week at our APCM I was invited to join the PCC and be a Deanery Synod Rep. I declined both because my commitment is the vocation trail at the moment, despite the delays and lack of any clear sense of direction. The other issue is distance, I live a long way from my parish until we move next year. I felt strongly that to take on a representational role at this time would be wrong unless I was living in the community.

But, we shall see as I'm going to push hard against the vocation door(s) now to see which one flies open.

Jane said...

Vic, we love you dearly and don't want to see you worn to a thread. Nor do we want others to be worn to a thread either ...someone once said 'my burden is light'. Sit back, don't do anything for a year and let people refresh their spiritual batteries - let them make seeking God their one and only ambition and see if that changes the whole panorama. It's God's work and we get the fun and adventure of being part of it...he knows where people are in their walk and in their faith (and I know 'the needs' nag...but these we will have with us always). God does logistical analysis like no-one just enjoy being here.