Family Matters Part 2: Church For The Unchurched
On Sunday 12th February at our morning service,we continued our series 'Family Matters' with the topic 'Church For The Unchurched '. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
At the start of our talk, we watched a Youtube clip called What Is The Church. You can watch this by clicking here.
In this second part of our Family Matters series we looked at what it means to be a church for the unchurched.
We started off by looking at the question “What is the Church?” and we watched the Youtube video to answer that question.
The video showed us that the church is the people, not a building or an event, but those with no experience may still think of church as the building, or as something that happens; a place or thing that they are not familiar with.
We all have all faced going into new environments or situations. We can find these new things quite daunting, you just don’t know what to expect, am I going to do or say the wrong thing?
Church can be like that for those who have never been, or haven’t been for a long time. Hopefully with the way we do things here at EBC we are providing an environment that people can be less anxious about and be a church that unchurched people want to be part of. But how do we do that and what is the purpose of the church?
Jesus himself left us with the vision for the church. We can read it in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life by clicking here.
This passage has become known as the Great Commission and gives us the underlying purpose of the church, to go and make disciples of all nations. So if that is our purpose, then how do we fulfil that?
Well a guy in the New Testament – Paul – helps us with that. Paul wrote many letters to the churches he had started. In one of these letters to the Church in Corinth he outlines the things that he has done to spread the good news of Jesus. You can read this by clicking here.
In this passage Paul outlines that he has become all things to all people. He has become like one still under the law, like one not under the law and like the weak. He did this so that by all possible means I might save some. Paul is saying in this passage that he is trying to save as many people as possible. To Paul the outcome is more important than his method, though he does point out that he is still subject to Christ’s law, which means that we have to be careful not to do anything that would affect our relationship with God.
Paul has a commitment to try and communicate the Gospel to all the communities that he encountered on his journeys around the Mediterranean region of the Roman Empire. He used the culture of those around him to help spread the gospel.
So what does that mean for us now? Well it means that we want EBC to be a church that is there for everyone in our community regardless of their background and past. We want EBC to be a place that when people do come along to one of our services that they are put at ease. A place where we don’t assume that everyone know what we are talking about, a place where we explain who’s who and what is going on; a place where we don’t expect you to be bible scholars; a place where we don’t actually care if you can’t tell the difference between a Baptist and a Buddhist. We want it to be a place where everyone feels accepted and welcome.
But there is so much more than what we do “at church”. We are only at church for about 1% of the week, so the other 99% is equally if not more important. It is in this other 99% of the week that we can really make a difference if we live out authentic Christian lives. We can’t put our Christian lives in a box when it suits us. We are living ambassadors for the church all the time. If we live out our lives in this way then people will start to see that there is something different about us wonder what that is. It will help break the stereotypes that people have about the church and enable us to start talking about what we do here at EBC and ultimately enable us to start inviting people to come along. WE should remember that the members’ benefits for being a member of the church don’t kick in until after we die, they are in the eternal realm not the earthly. It is important though that we remember the Great Commission. Jesus gave us the command to go and make disciples of all the nations. He didn’t tell us to go and make disciple of people just like us who have nice already sorted lives. Jesus himself went out of his way to relate to and associate with those that were shunned by the religious leaders of his time. We should be emulating him.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Think about some times that you have been in new situations and how you felt? Were you nervous or anxious about it?
2. Do you know anyone who is anti-church? What are their arguments against the church based on?
3. Do you tend to put your Christian life in a box outside of church time? If so why?
4. Are there people that you know that you could “become like” and engage with in the hope that you may be able to share the good news of Jesus with?
5. Reflect on this quote from Archbishop William Temple:
“The Church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members.”
What does that mean to you?
6. Is there anyone that you know who you could either invite to EBC (this could be to a service or an event), or could benefit from one of the EBC ministries such as Storehouse or Martha’s Meals?