Thursday, October 27, 2005

What is Church For?

I ask that question as I share this post from Scott Williams, a new addition to the blog list on the sidebar. I've been wrestling with some of the issues he brings up. An excerpt:

for years i was frustrated as to why more people in the church did not go to bible studies. why they had a hard time making church commitments. with all the amazing opportunities we gave people why were they not responding in droves?

...

as a pastor i believed that serving on a committe and being a part of a small group was the least a christian should do. i have come to understand that for many of us, it is the most we can do. we are insanely busy. church is insanely inconvenient. i was paid to have meetings, hold small groups and work evenings. most people have to come home from working 50 or 60 hours a week, get groceries, clean the house, do laundry, make supper, do the dishes and drop in bed. i never realized before how difficult it is to dedicate 2 or 3 nights a week and some weekends as a volunteer at a church. right now i work a part time job, am starting the club, am renoing the house and trying to have a social life. the thought of spending a couple of evenings a week in church activities stresses me out.

2 comments:

Songbird said...

This is all so true, Jeff. I can name several people in my congregation who tell me over and over they are planning to come to Bible Study or whatever, and I know on some level they want to, but even if they do happen to get away from work in time, they are spent.
On the other hand, doing things like going to Bible Study ends up feeding us, if we can only get in the habit of going. So I wonder if lay folk who can't fit it in are any different from our colleagues who don't have time for a clergy group? Mine is a lifeline. It's the place where I'm not tasked with taking care of everyone else but rather live in mutuality with the other members. That's what Bible Study or any other small group can be.
As far as committees go, I try to never have them meet on weeknights. It's inconvenient for me to have them meet after church on Sundays, but if I can spare these exhausted people an evening out, I'll do it. And frankly my family life is better since we cut down on the number of evening things at church.

Jeff said...

A few weeks ago I looked at my calendar for November and thought, 'Wow, we have a lot of committee meetings.' I was truly surprised at the amount of evening activities we truly have, and how many of them are more business-related.

I don't think an after-worship meeting time would fly. Sundays generally are family days here, and that would be cutting into that time.

Thinking back to my CPE summer, the last thing I wanted to do most evenings after I got home was...anything at all. I was so worn out from the week that an organized meeting anywhere other than with a small group of friends would have seemed like a chore. And to be totally honest, I don't think I attended Sunday worship once that summer. So I have a limited understanding of what Scott is saying.