Two things have caught my eye over the past couple of days that are well worth underlining.
The first was a bit from The Lead on the Church of England’s growth study. Of the 8 things ennumerated as things linked to growth, one was: “Being intentional in chosen style of worship”
I thought this was fascinating in light of the whole “worship wars” context. Had this been five or ten years ago, I would heartily have expected to see “use [XX instrument] in worship” where the XX was either guitar/drums or else organ.
This is so much better—it’s about being clear about who you are (actually making a choice), and choosing to stick with it.
The second bit is from Robert Hendrickson and his presentation on ministering to young adults. Here’s a fragment:
This is the trap of many churches – we have a great story – but we don’t live into it in such a way that our essential qualities are readily apparent and evident. Gen Y, hyper-marketed to and attuned to falsity, can sense intuitively when they are being sold a false bill of goods.
So how do we make sure that our congregations are places of powerful honesty? We have to live it out.
Honest to our self: Who is your parish? What is it facing now that it is challenging with radical honesty? Whatever your parish’s core identity is, there is nothing so precious, in terms of communication and evangelism, than living into it with integrity. If you are an evangelical parish then live into it. If you are an Anglo-Catholic parish, then live into it. If you are a parish focused on social justice, then live into it. Lean into your strengths and allow them not simply to be a story that you tell but a way of being that defines those who are part of your parish.
It’s not hard to connect the dots…
Honesty, integrity, and intentionality. These are key ways to live and proclaim the Gospel.