|Could you invite you non-churched friends to church?|
|Tuesday, 10 July 2012 11:38|
Could you invite your non-churched friends to church?
That’s the question broached in a challenging film on the website of the Incarnate Network, the Baptist Union’s church planting arm.
In it Mat Wilson speaks about how he has, in a sense, found a ‘spiritual home’ with the fellow dads at his 10 year old son’s cricket club. ‘It’s a place where I was accepted,’ he explains, ‘where we all got on as blokes, where we were interested in a common theme.'
Mat is the BMS World Mission team leader at IMC (International Mission Centre), having relatively recently returned from church planting in Albania. When the cricketing dads - a mix of bankers, teachers, council workers and those out of work - found out he was a church planter, the reaction was ‘What on earth is that?’ They looked at me in a weird way. What on earth are you doing?’
However, it meant that he was able to share his story in a very natural way - in a pub, while having a curry, watching cricket. ‘In all these places of natural connection, we started to talk about the deeper things in life. About God. About issues of the church. People starting to share personal stuff to me.’
And while this was a great privilege, Mat realised he too was being spiritually uplifted. ‘It’s not just me hearing about their story - they’re hearing about my story. And the way we can get on naturally is something I find spiritually really, really uplifting.’
So he began to wonder -should he be in ‘mission mode’ to them? And he realised that was wrong.
‘That’s a mindset of an ‘us and them’ situation. I no longer feel that way. Everything is reciprocal. I get uplifted spiritually by their company - that might seem a bit over the top, a bit grand. But it’s how I feel.’
Nevertheless, he began to wonder about how to connect his life at church and his time spent at the cricket club - and realised just how unconnected they both were.
‘Church on Sunday is about singing songs, a language that people on the street don’t get. It’s about certain traditions and symbols that are very foreign to the guys I connect with in the club,’ Mat explains.
These questions, he admits, he hasn't yet found an answer to. But he realises that sadly he couldn’t invite them to a ‘traditional, inherited’ church.
‘It’s not about being unashamed of the Gospel. I’m very happy to bring part of the Gospel into their life, and for them to bring part of the Gospel into my life. But it’s about culture - and the two cultures are so far apart I couldn’t with any confidence invite them into the culture of the church.
‘So what next?’
The film has been widely shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. To view it and the discussions visit http://www.incarnate-network.eu/news/film-can-i-invite-them-to-a-church-no
The film can also be downloaded as a discussion starter with home groups.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:35|
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