Some Facebook Posts from today: musings on “church” from various encounters with Scottish believers in recent weeks.
A phrase I have heard over the last few weeks from the lips of believers when I have inquired what Church they go to: “Well, I used to go to the Church of Scotland, but now…” I have heard that countless times over the decades, literally thousands of times by now. Very occasionally I have met folk who have moved from another church into the Church of Scotland and found a home there. Overall, I think I would soberly estimate that the Church of Scotland has somehow lost tens of thousands of sincere believers who have found a home and are serving in other church settings. A magnanimous spirit may say that they “have not been lost to ‘The one Church, the Body of Christ’ and God bless them.” A humble but troubled spirit might be prepared to add to that outlook the question”Why?”
As a P.S. to my last post, over the last few weeks I have also met many believers who are from new churches and congregations that I have never even heard of. They speak with excitement tinged with awe about what God is doing in their midst and through the work of their congregation.
I met one pastor whose aim is to plant 36 congregations. He is prepared to give people away and does not care the label over the door. I think he will do it.
I met a young pastor a wee while back who is from a church in Aberdeen planning to plant 21 churches. I have no experience of church planting but she came to meet this old guy to ask for some tips on being a pastor and a leader. That congregation baptised some new beliers recently.
All in all, I hear of more fresh shoots of new spiritual life than I have heard of for many years. Some of these green shoots are in very dry ground, but God has a way of making that work it seems.
Interesting spiritual times. New Kingdom of God life meeting increasingly hostile secular reactions that are becoming political and even state hostility. It is almost like the way it was at the start. The letters of Paul makes it laughable to think the way it was at the start was any sort of golden age of the church. There never has been a golden age except in blinkered imagination. But there was life there, sufficient to be noticed and at times persecuted. Green tender shoots in dry ground indeed. It is the Jesus Way.
Shotts Prison today: how Church should be. Friendly, exuberant praise, praying for one another, rejoicing in one another’s victories and achievements, a safe place to speak, an open door when you have blown it. A place where sermons are interrupted by wonderful questions and the sharing of personal experience on what was being talked about. Attentive listening and follow up conversations over tea and coffee. Appreciation. Thankfulness. A church you don’t want to miss. (A church the Chaplain came to even though she is on holiday!)
Maybe you should get to a prison near you? Don’t underestimate what it would mean to prisoners if you became a volunteer who goes along to Sunday Services.