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.