Saturday, April 07, 2007

Jesus walks into a bar ...

There is an interesting article in today's Sydney Morning Herald by journalist Barney Zwartz.

Titled "Jesus walks into a bar ..." the article refers to "an extraordinarily diverse and fast-growing Christian movement catering to the multitudes who reject the institutional church but want to follow its founder, Jesus Christ."

It goes on to say
They meet in cafes, clubs, homes, halls, parks or galleries. Rather than "church", they may meet as families, students, businesspeople or surfies. They may be affiliated to mainstream churches or they may be entirely independent. Most are committed and young.
The article quotes Dr Ruth Powell of the National Church Life Survey who says:
Many disenfranchised people under 50, the generation that left the churches, say they still want to follow Jesus, and know they still need others to help them, but have to find a new way, new structures. So all sorts of variants are happening under the radar. They are difficult to spot.

We then read about groups meeting for discussion or Bible study in cafes, clubs, pubs and other venues. Some of these people are new to Christianity while others are disenchanted with church although they still believe the teachings of Jesus are true.

Towards the end of the article we are reminded about Jesus' advice not to put new wine into old wineskins, or the wineskins burst, costing both wine and skins. Rather, put new wine into new wineskins.

I personally found this article to be very interesting and challenging. In fact, just before I read today's newspaper I sent an email to a friend saying:

As I see it one of the main reasons the Gospel as Christadelphians understand it isn’t more widespread is that it has been presented rather negatively. What I mean is, instead of saying “no one burns in hell” Christadelphians tend to preach “your loved ones aren’t in heaven” - mmm ... that would turn anyone off right away. And instead of preaching “Jesus was one of us” Christadelphians tend to go about by knocking those stupid churches that teach a lot of rubbish about 3 gods. That would hardly endear them to anyone. See my point?" I made the comment that "I reckon we need to find a way of saying what we believe in a way that’s not only positive, it’salso relevant. Then we need to find the right vehicle to communicate that message.

Well, as an out-of-church Christian myself I'd be interested in hearing your comments about meetings in cafes and pubs, and what is the best way of reaching people with a Gospel that's relevant to their lives. If you'd like to make a comment about that you can post a message on the Truth Alive message board, or send me an email.