Welcome!

Welcome to this blog! This is primarily a place for discussion, which I hope will be both challenging and encouraging.

Please read the About… page to find out a bit more about me and the purpose of this blog (or click the link at the top of the page to access this information any time).

I thought I’d kick off with a bit of background about my journey. I did not grow up in the church, but met Jesus while attending a Christian high school, and began attending church while at university. I was probably “eased into” church culture through school, and I fitted in well with the traditional format (attending Sunday services, a Bible study group, plus socially-oriented young adults gatherings). Baptist theology sat well with me. I began serving in the church in various ministries.

However, several years ago now, I began to feel troubled that all was not right with the church. It was not doctrine which bothered me particularly (although, as happens throughout history, I fear we overemphasise some aspects of what we believe to the neglect of others), nor any individual behaviour (although the worldliness of the church is also of concern to me – but that is another topic). In fact, may I make it clear that I believe my church, and no doubt most others, is filled with godly, Spirit-filled, well-intentioned people faithfully serving God.

It was the format of church gatherings which first began to trouble me. Some of the issues were: we focused on worship but rarely on ministering to one another; though we worshipped in a room together, we were often encouraged (verbally and otherwise) to view worship as between “God and me” not between “God and us”; the inflexible order of service ensured the Spirit could not lead us somewhere unplanned; we rarely worshipped from our own experience, such as singing our own songs; we sometimes tried to create an inviting atmosphere through external means rather than letting our unity and love speak for itself.

As the leader of a children’s ministry, I also began to notice the ways in which formal church services actually exclude people from participating, and not just children. Opportunities to share and participate during services are usually limited to those up front (service leader, singers, musicians, preacher).

As I prayed, reflected and read the Scriptures, and also listened to the voices of others, my unrest grew to a concern that many aspects of how we organise ourselves and function as a church – beyond just Sunday services – may not be beneficial.

I have come to believe that what is urgently needed is a rediscovery of what it means to be God’s people, both individually and corporately, and to live that out appropriately. That is where I am in this journey: eager to rediscover and desiring others to join me.

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4 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. Good to see you blogging. I think you hit the nail right on the head with these observations. If you ask me, part of the problem is worship songs that overuse personal pronouns. I see this as the church being influenced by our individualised western culture. Are we forgetting that the Christian life is meant to be a shared experience, and not just a private thing between the believer and God? In other words, it’s not just about you. We’re all in this together, right? Too often we use worship as Christian shorthand for singing, forgetting that we’re meant to worship God with all of our lives.

    Part of the reason why I left the church I was brought up in and baptised at was because not being a musician, I felt as though I had nothing to contribute. I’m now in a small church that takes prayer, discipleship, mission, outreach, and community seriously, which sits well with me right now.

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    • I totally agree with you, Ross. I sometimes substitute “we” and “us” for “I” and “me” when I’m singing, although it seems pointless when I’m the only one doing it! When I used to attend our evening services regularly, I noticed that the worship leaders, with good intentions of course, often encouraged us not to worry about everyone else around us and to remember it’s just about us (individually) and God. It seems to defeat the purpose of worshipping together and I don’t see how it builds up the body, which is a big part of why we meet together (see 1 Cor 14:26).

      It’s interesting you say that your church takes prayer, discipleship, etc seriously. I imagine most people at my church would, perhaps rightly, take offense if anyone suggested that we don’t take those things seriously. However, it seems to me that although we believe in the importance of these things, we restrict ourselves from doing them well – making them part of our total lifestyle – when we stick to traditional frameworks of practice. I will explore this further in future posts!

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