How do you walk into church? What sort of things are you thinking? Am I late?! Where will I sit? How long will it go on?
What does God think as we walk into church? In the first week of "6 steps to loving your church" we thought about how God is not taking a roll call as we walk in - nor thinking "I hope their worship is up to scratch" but rather is thinking:
"You're my beloved & adopted children, you are a gathering of people that I have purchased with the blood of my son...you're pure and acceptable in my sight, not because you come to church, nor by anything your do at church, but because of the cross....I'm so glad you're here, you belong here, I want to speak to you, encourage you, rebuke you though my Word so that you can grow. I want to hear your prayers, I want you to love one another."
That's an incredible thing to think as we walk into church. We were encouraged to think about this and to pray as we walk in, pray for God's help and pray that we might be able to encourage someone else.
In week 2 we thought more about building in love. We asked the question is church more like going to the cinema or a backyard blitz and concluded it should be more like a backyard blitz - where everyone is working together for a common cause rather than simply attending as an audience. We were challenged to think about how we might seek the good of others, encourage someone in their faith, and discussed how we might move from the "ministry of the few" to the "ministry of the pew"!
In week 3 we thought about building during the service, by joining in with the responses and singing, looking out for any who haven't got a service sheet or Bible, welcoming any newcomers, and listening actively - the DVD asked us what our screen saver is as we listen to the sermon! Are we actively listening and following along in the Bible, or are we searching for the invisible fairy in the building, or being a "dipping duck" (nodding off)!
Tonight we're thinking about "love over coffee" - all welcome to join us - 8pm in the Rectory.