Before I get into this post let me just share a quick little update on what is going around here. Firstly, I am about to embark on a book writing mission, I am extremely excited about it but it is still very early days. At this stage I do not know if it will end up as a 40 page booklet or a 300 page door stop. Right now I pretty much have a topic to write about and the goal of having it out before April 2015. I am still going to try to put something new out here on the blog every week or so as well as going through the older posts to edit and possibly revise some of them as well. If any of the old ones are altered significantly I will post an update about it either on Twitter or Facebook.
Now, the kind of large church that I would attend...
For those of you are familiar with this blog you will be aware of the fact that I have been outside of the institutional church for going on five years now. There were 2 main reasons for me leaving, one was that I felt God telling me to get out and two was that I noticed that sitting in a chair 2-3 times a week taking notes was making me smarter but it was also making me lazier.
The last traditional church that I attended claimed that the house churches were the heart of the place, yet despite the Senior Pastors good intentions only about 30-35% of those gathered every Sunday went to one of the home groups during week nights. I have a feeling that other institutional churches that are going beyond "home cells" in emphasizing kingdom communities probably have a similar small percentage of people involved in home groups when compared to the Sunday morning event. Now I don't want to slam what happens every Sunday on stages across the planet. I am glad that some people have the opportunity to share in that sort of a context and God has clearly gifted some in the area of preaching and teaching (classroom style) and there is a time and place for it (Acts 5:12-15). I may not attend services anymore but I still enjoy and appreciate listening to sermons while I am driving sometimes.
All I want to do here is make one simple suggestion and maybe it is not for everybody, but for me it sounds great. What if we allocated the most convenient time slot of the week to the home gatherings and moved the singing and teaching combined groups service to midweek or maybe even Friday nights? Would that not show how serious we were about the church being a community of believers in fellowship with one another? Would that not allow the parents of young children to make the home meetings who normally can't go out at night because they have kids to bath and put to sleep? Would it not help the parents of older kids whose children need to do homework and get a decent nights sleep? Would it not help those who maybe are to scared to drive alone at night? Granted, while the home fellowships would grow the combined meetings would be significantly smaller. Overall numbers would probably decline as well as many would almost certainly rather find a pew to occupy in another Church somewhere else come Sunday morning. I have never smoked, but I imagine giving up cigarettes is probably easier than giving up some of the church traditions that we hold so close. Would this be a risk many churches would be willing to take? I don't think so, but I would hope that some would. It's my belief that smaller gatherings where people are able to speak, teach, encourage, listen, love and pray together are far more beneficial than larger gatherings, which themselves can also be edifying and God glorifying, so long as they do not become a substitute for the former.
Perhaps I am over simplifying or over looking some things and like I said, it is probably not for everyone. But for me, that is the kind of church (in a building) I could see myself attending.