The question of what happened to Kodak, started me thinking. For the honest truth is no one wanted its products any more. So it joined the long line of companies that have bvanished without trace.
Is then the church heading for the same fate? Possibly, in fact more than possibly. However don’t think I am going too follow up this prediction with yet another appeal for evangelism. Or at least not yet. Since most exhortations come from those with a monchrome opinion of what will have people trooping through church doors to hear their usually simplicitic even bombastic world view.
Instead I am planning on sitting back and doing the hardest of activities – thinking!
What is our ‘product’?
For, the first key question is what is the product the church has to sell? Well some years ago I drafted the mission statement for my congregation. It was – to assist encounters with God through Jesus Christ. All very worthy yet not more than what training gurus would call an enabling objective. More simply, it was a step on the way instead of a destination.
Since many will say there is a great spiritual hunger or burden of sin today. This may or may not be true for few are showing either. Nevertheless many today are living superficial lives with little progress, achievement or even hope. Surely then the Church is here to help? In other word, to put everyday people in touch with the kingdom of Jesus which is an arm’s reach away. This is what we have not to sell but to give away.
How do we sell it?
With our product in defined, how do we get it to its marketplace?
Here again, we need to take a rethink. Since if we could go back in time to speak to Jesus and mentioned the word church he would have been perplexed. The idea of people coming together well scrubbed and pink with enthusiasm for an hour every sunday is not biblical but a constuct albeit of over thousands of years. Moreover, to have such a mixed group in one space worshipping in the same way is as oudated as large one screen cinemas. There is a need instead to work on targeted worship that meets individual needs while still retaining a sense of community. This means shorter acts of worship, use of social media and genuine interactivity.
When I served in the Navy, chaplains often talked of doing Church making it a verb and not a noun. Time is running out for Church as place and so we better make it a verb sooner than later. Because then it is a movement towards the Kingdom of God and not a prison of the past. Time to improve customer relations, the sales force and the packaging.