I’ve been enjoying reading John Stevens blog. He is the national director of FIEC but is also on the frontline planting a church in Market Harborough. In this post he writes about one ordinary Sunday in the life of the church plant.
We were low on numbers yesterday, which was discouraging. A number of couples were away for the weekend, so we were at least 6 key adults and 3 children down and very few of the “fringe” attenders were with us. It makes a real difference to a small church. It can be emotionally draining preaching at a larger church with a congregation of over 200 one week and then with a congregation of just over 25 or so the next. We had one visitor which was encouraging.
Everyone is working very hard to keep everything running – we were there at 9.30 putting out chairs and kit. Size isn’t everything, and God was certainly with us and I had some important pastoral conversations after the service. But please do pray that we would grow so we reach the point of weekly stability and that the people who are giving so much do not become exhausted.
It’s an experience I remember well. Everyone works hard to make Sunday happen but the long haul is tiring for the committed. Everyone is doing something all the time and as a result we want a rest from church rather than find our rest in church. When we planted Hope Church I didn’t even know there were other ways of going about it, I thought all you did was start a meeting and then add some midweek groups.
Turns out church is a little bit more than that reductionist view. Sunday takes a lot of running and a lot of effort. Sometimes disproportionate to the benefit. I believe in the gathered church, I believe in corporate worship, I think it should be part of a church. But I’m not quite so sure that it must be there from the start. There are other ways of being devoted to the apostles teaching, the breaking of bread, to fellowship and to prayer.In fact I’d go as far as to say that one of the last pieces of the puzzle that I’d want to lay in planting our next church is the public event.
I’ll explain why during this week.