The majority of people do not see churches as communities of love and care living out the gospel that they are preaching – we need to tell a better story
According to research by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, reported on the Christian Today website, three quarters of UK adults cannot name any of the activities that take place inside their local church other than regular services and religious festivals.
For the good name of Christ and his followers we need to tell the story of the good work people up and down the country are doing to live out the Christian faith in acts of love and service.
In general people who don’t have a natural connection with churches have no idea what goes on behind the closed doors of the building and frankly don’t really want to know. So, although it’s good that they think there will be regular services and religious festivals going on at our church buildings, most will never want to come in to the building unless it’s for a service they need – a nativity or carol service, weddings and funerals. I have spoken to people who have come to a church service and been quite amazed simply at the number of people the age range and what goes – the contemporary singing, informal atmosphere, the reading and explaining of the Bible like it matters. So we do need to educate and invite people to our regular services which are for everyone for all the year.
More specifically connected with this research, they are probably not aware of the good works that churches are doing and are recognised for. Churches are the biggest provider of youth services at a purely social level usually have more going on than any other organisation in a town or city
Of course we can do things as individuals but as communities together we can have a major impact locally such as children and youth work, elderly care and support groups, counselling, debt advice, works with the homeless community cafés like our own Saltworks Café and advice centres. And it’s great to publicise what we are doing so people can see the love and the heart we have which helps to authenticate the message we bring. In order for this to happen we need to humbly publicise what we’re doing and why we are doing it.
We do works of love and service to incarnate the truth. Not instead of gospel words but as our conviction from those gospel words. Not a means of marketing, like big companies sponsor charitable events to improve their brand. Not as a substitute for gospel proclamation or as means of tricking people into accidentally hearing the gospel but as the natural outworking of the gospel as we seek to point people to Jesus.
This article first appeared on the Affinity website – www.affinity.org.uk