25% of what I say is wrong. The trouble is I don't know which 25%
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Having taken time out from church stuff during the sabbatical, I'm very challenged by this:
"Many of my 'minister friends speak fo church as something from which they must seek solace. They 'protect' their day off and guard the privacy of their home. They feel the loneliness of ministry, looking outside the local church for people who will pastor tham and events that will refresh them.
For me, church is where I find solace. The Christian community pastors and refreshes me through the word of God. Someone put it so us like this: "If I were to say I needed a weekly day off from my wife and children, people would say I had a dysfunctional marriage. So why, if I say I need a day off from church, do people not ask whether I have a dysfunctional church family?" "
Of course, that's not all there is to it: I quite relish a day with my wife and kids after a week of funerals, admin meetings, sermon preparation, and an array of wedding and baptism preparation meetings with people who I'm (mostly) unlikely to have any long-term relationship with.
But at the same time it challenges my casual use of the term 'church family'. It feels a bit like 'community' - a label which, if we keep sticking it back on often enough, might (we think) stand a tiny chance of being partially true.
Chester argues that our relationships in the church aren't really close enough, particularly that of church leaders with church members. Writing on discipleship, he notes that most discipleship happens not through formal settings (sermon, course, small group) but informally, in response to the stuff of daily life.
That's only possible if people are actually sharing daily life together in some way. Simply turning up for a sermon once a week isn't going to 'make disciples'.