No-matter how sacred a church service on Sunday might be, if it doesn’t relate to life on Monday, then something is very wrong. There’s no point in putting it any other way. In this case, church becomes a niche market that a few might like – but which is far removed from the normal day to day life of ordinary people. This is not how Jesus ever intended things to be. His message was NEVER meant to be niche. It’s nation shaking!!
Study his words carefully (in some Bible’s they’re written in red) and you’ll discover why crowds of thousands came to hear Jesus speak. It wasn’t because they had nothing else better to do. These were busy people, many of them would have been running their own businesses (the culture was incredibly entrepreneurial). They didn’t turn up in huge numbers because he satisfied a thirst for intellectual stimulation either. Nor did he speak in irrelevant terms which bore no resemblance to the pressures of everyday life. The very opposite happened. Jesus told incredibly down to earth stories using up to date illustrations. They were so good that kids loved listening too (children don’t listen to boring speakers!). He challenged the pretentious religiosity of the Pharisee’s and was even willing to be misunderstood, getting himself a reputation as ‘a friend of sinners’. Interestingly, this was a term that was intended as a slander against Jesus by the religious establishment but which actually proved an unwitting compliment. The sinners loved hanging out with Jesus – not because he approved of their lifestyle but because he was able to show them a better way. People related to Jesus then and they should be able to connect with church TODAY!
However, Christians can sometimes talk in jargon terms about ‘mission’ and ‘fresh expressions’ – and yet the strange irony is that there can be a suspicion and even criticism against anything that resembles change. We must always be careful (Junction Church included) that we don’t love our ways more than we love our world. If the latter is true for us, then we will do whatever it takes to reach people – even if that means completely changing the focus of our Sunday services. Archbishop Temple was right when he said ‘The Church is the only organisation that does not exist for itself, but for those who live outside of it’
It’s our heart at the Junction Church in Leicester and Loughborough that everything we do will relate to every day life. When preparing to speak on a Sunday, one of the main questions on my mind is always ‘What about Monday?”. In other words, how does this message apply in real life? What about the normal day to day stuff? How does faith work there?
Faith needs to be gritty and real, not fake and surreal. Yet in it’s beautiful vulnerability, there’s a powerful vibe of hope – something which our world desperately needs.
Hey, turns out that reaching out to those who don’t yet follow Jesus is not that complicated after all. It’s about being real. It’s about taking people on the journey of how it all works on Monday. Just watch what happens…