St Philip’s Church was in the news last weekend. There was a brief article in the Sun Herald about a new Service we have been running during the week called Commuters’ Church.
Commuters’ Church is a series of 3 ten minutes Church Services that we are running on Wednesday mornings between 8-9 O’Clock. Each Service consists of a Bible reading, short talk, and a prayer. The idea is to have a gospel opportunity with people who are on their way to work. It is primarily directed toward people who would describe themselves as ‘Christian’ but have stopped going to Church. It plays on people’s curiousity and requires very little commitment.
I’m not particularly involved in this part of our Church’s ministry, I’m at College at that time on Wednesday, but Dave Mansfield has said that it is meeting the objective of engaging people who have become alienated from Church.
St Philip’s is in a great location for this sort of thing. All the Buses coming into the city from Sydney’s North Shore come over the Harbour Bridge and then stop right outside the Church. The train line runs directly under the Church! You can often feel the rumble from the trains during a Service.
The article in the Sun-Herald generated a media frenzy. We received a call from the Today show on Sunday morning asking if Dave would appear on the show the following day. I took the call while I was folding the outlines for Church. Dave was in the middle of preaching. Dave had to turn them down as he was going away. Today we had a radio journalist from the ABC come along to the Service, Dave had to keep her from interviewing people as they came out. It sounds like he had a good conversation and was able to help her understand that Church isn’t a sideshow and that the people who came along are often exploring Christianity – the last thing they need is a microphone in the face.
This strange media interest is intriguing. We were discussing it in our staff team meeting this afternoon. The article in the SMH was reasonable enough. As someone who is a Christian and involved in the Church it is clear to me that the article was written by someone who isn’t a Christian and didn’t really understand what we are seeking to achieve, but it isn’t unsympathetic or unfair.
However, we were speculating that lying behind this interest is the assumption that Churches are desparate and will do anything to attract new people. The media attention is really interested in seeing how far Christians will go. It’s really just another version of watching people do awful things (like eating live worms) for prize money.
The reality is that the world has no idea of how far Christians will go to bring people into Church. Not into St Philip’s or Dunnedoo Community Church, but into the fellowship of all those who trust in Jesus. We will be all things to all people in order that we might win some. We are desparate, We implore people on behalf of Christ, ‘be reconciled to God!’
We won’t do anything, but we may well go to the Cross…
… At least that is our calling, we need to pray for us all that we might be faithful.
â€œNow everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christâ€™s behalf, â€œBe reconciled to God.â€â€ (2Cor 5:18-20 HCSB)