Our June Bible Study continued the theme of mission by examining the meaning of the word ‘church’, and considering the unintentional messages that we may be sending to people outside.
We started by reminding ourselves that the church is a group of people, not a building, and recognising that we need to study two books in order to learn more of God from them: Scripture, and the world around us.
We were then asked to consider two statements:
1. The church exists for those outside it.
2. As a fire lives by burning, so the church lives by mission.
What evidence do we see for this is Jesus’ ministry? Is that how our congregation thinks about the church?
Following discussion we found that most people agreed with the statements; however it was suggested that the church is also needed for those inside to worship and learn together so that they can provide effective mission to those outside.
We considered the impression church buildings make on those passing by, and what they say about the people who worship there. Do all churches look welcoming and friendly, or do some unwittingly make it difficult for those outside to cross the threshhold?
Some ideas of how we could improve our own church were put forward, and these included:
- placing a cross (lit at night) on top of the small pinnacle at the entrance.
- a Welcome and/or Christian affirmation to be placed over the serving hatch in the hall, in a form that can be changed from time to time.
- an interactive information screen in the foyer.
- the need to keep the roadside noticeboard up to date with posters etc.
With all these thoughts in mind, the Bible Study was brought prayerfully to a close.