My favourite time to be at church is doing Church Out: being Church for the sake of those who don’t do or go to Church.
I’ve taken at least a Sunday a month for the past 8 years to meet with and connect with people with the Christian faith. Usually I do something creative. I started this rhythm of Sundays using a red carpet for VIP’s and then invited everyone to walk down it! I’ve also taken community art projects, music and worship bands and lots and lots of free giveaways, which prompt people’s curiosity.
Recently I’ve taken a Sunday a month to paint in a local café in Cambourne and share ‘prayer paintings.’ It has become a good place to meet people to talk about faith, to listen and to encourage to try out being part of Church.
It strikes me that Church Out or Sunday out or whatever name churches have come up with for using church time for mission is a bit of a phenomenon sweeping the UK across all the denominations. It’s as if the church has slowly realised that the vast majority of people simply don’t have a clue what it means to be a follower of Jesus or whether the Christian faith has any relevance to their lives.
If we don’t ‘go’ to people and engage with them with the Christian faith then there really isn’t any hope for the church in the future. People just won’t know what Christianity means or teaches. Last Sunday one guy drinking in the pub said,
“You have to go out don’t you? People aren’t coming to church anymore so church has to go to the people…”
Another person in the pub also encouraged what we were doing and thanked us for being there as she had felt very much ‘helped’ by us.
A Baptist minister friend of mine told me today that his church for the past 6 months had cancelled a service a month so that the church could engage in a number of outreach activities ranging from taking a service in a nursing home to litter picking to running an outreach centred around football. They now have contact with hundreds of people they wouldn’t otherwise. Furthermore, this new way of being and doing church has breathed new life into the members and caused many to grow in their faith. When we create space to do the things we are teaching our churches that they should do, great things happen- a moving from theory to practice.
This past weekend was such a privilege to work with worship leader Liv Comley. Liv performed worship in a couple of pubs and created a beautiful atmosphere that really did make it easy for me and my small team to share our faith, pray for people and connect with others with the good news. It was a powerful clash of cultures. Pure extravagant worship in a place of cheap beer and little hope. yet this is where we see God lavishly meeting with people.
If you are interested in doing church out please do let me know as I would like to put on a training day in the new year sharing all the creativity and ideas that we have built up over the years.
Please do let me know by filling in the form below and I will get back to you when I have a date and venue booked up!