Tuesday, December 30, 2008

summer worship: sustainable rather than attractional or missional

Often Kiwi churches die after Christmas. I was reflecting on the inherent lack of logic in this: we make a big effort for Christmas, then all head off on holiday. If Christmas visitors were genuinely seeking God, then we provide precious few resources once our Christmas benediction concludes. This could run the danger of being attractionable, yet could also be a shout-out for sustainable and the need to offer ongoing spiritual resourcing. Equally, people are tired and need holidays. So again this becomes a shout-out for sustainable, for finding patterns that map seasonal life with authenticity.

Sometimes I wonder if both attractional and missional are simply middle-class. They suit people with some get up and go, some energy, some ability to resource themselves, whether coming or going. Yet ministry occurs among people with real and present needs. Like the person who asked us to meet her parents after the Christmas service, and calmly announced. “Oh, you’ll be the first Christians they’ve ever met.” There are levels of support required here that are above and beyond a “see you after we’ve all holidayed.”

So this year we’re trying the “Summer Delight” series. Visually, the church is decorated with jandals/thongs (“Soulmates” from our local service station) and people are encouraged to come in sun hats, shorts and jandals. We start the service with a cup of tea/coffee, and end the service with a bring-your-own picnic. All low-key, but lots of chances to relax and catchup. Input wise, we are opening up themes like pilgrimage, faith outdoors, spiritual friendship. All this is part of deeper challenge, for Kiwis to throw of the imperialism that is the Church year, shaped by Northern Hemisphere seasonal patterns, in which advent candles work best in winter dark, Easter lilies really do bloom in spring and Pentecost can be outdoors. I mean, what would a Church year look like if Jesus had been born in Southern summer heat?

Posted by steve at 03:35 PM

1 Comment

  1. “Sometimes I wonder if both attractional and missional are simply middle-class…” I do too! Hope you and the family had a wonderful Christmas. All the very best for 2009. It was great to see so much of you in 2007/08…


    Comment by Paul Fromont — December 31, 2008 @ 10:55 am

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