Church Out 

  Sunday morning and it’s my first Church Out morning in Cambourne a new initiative with the Church that we are part of.  

It’s a new monthly outreach for a few hours venturing into the community when the majority of people don’t go to church, and to be ‘Church Out.’ 

Seeing as it’s the first one I’ve gone to seek places of peace and to see the lie of the land I went alone before inviting people to join me on this new adventure!

Here’s some of my observations: 

First off, it’s busy. Really busy. Morrisons is jam packed, the cafe with a permenant queue and a hustle and bustle. 

Around the town there are dog walkers, cyclists, bored dads pushing swings half heartedly, strollers, ramblers, people on the way to the tip, family’s out for brunch, mums getting in the weekly shop. It’s busy.

Taking time to look and ponder makes me realise again how small church is! We meet together with a hundred or so others but the vast majority of people simply don’t. Church doesn’t figure into their thinking. There is such need to be Church Out. 

Secondly; the cafes do a roaring trade. It reminds me as I venture into the eating places of Cambourne those beautiful words from Ray Simpson in his book ‘The St Aiden Way of Mission’ about a cafe society needing churches that serve food and coffee. Cambourne Church does this exceptionally well throughout the week through the amazing 19 cafe. But not on a Sunday. That’s not to say we should, but perhaps there is a role for good coffee and food to relax and belong before a time of worship.

Thirdly, people are very willing to talk and engage. As I did some art work I met some lovely people. 

The owner of Greens cafe chatted and showed me an amazing tattoo done of a dandelion in remembrance of her parents. 

I loved painting in the coffee shop. So peaceful! Here are some pictures that I did:

   
    
 I can’t wait till my next Church Out experience. 

————

Post word: I’m able to do what I do through the ministry of The Light Project, the charity I founded in 2000. We received a grant from The Baptist Insurence Company that frees my time to do Church Out once a month with Canbourne Church and 6 times a year in Peterborough as part of the city centre chaplaincy. 

4 thoughts on “Church Out 

  1. Out of interest, Chris, when ‘church out’ is established in a church – do you cancel the main morning service that day? does everyone join in with ‘church out’? I’m trying to think through practicalities for our church – getting 100 people suddenly on the High Street might be a bit overwhelming …!

    • It depends on what you want… I’ve done church out for the last 7 years and sometimes I have a team of one other! Other times we have had 25 churches involved, over 500 volunteers and 12,000 guests at a funday! I think having a regular alternative to using the time on a Sunday to be church ‘out’ is key.

      • Yes, it’s a regular thing we’re thinking about – once a month, on our local High Street. We’re wondering about having a service at 9am (which would include praying and commissioning a Church Out team), then heading out after the service. I’m envisaging that for the sort of regular Church Out activities you’ve described (or that I can think of), having a team of 5-10 would probably be sufficient; but then a larger team for any bigger events??

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