For every new face we get through our chapel doors there are hundreds of conversations with people that “do not feel like church (as they understand it) is for them”.
I can of course understand why they feel like this, it was not so long ago that I would have agreed with them!
People are weary of the church because:
1. It is thought of as a man-made institution that seeks to make money.
2. Nobody wants to miss out on a morning in bed to spend a Sunday morning in a big, cold building surrounded by lots of strangers, eager to earn moral brownie points.
3. People believe church is not child friendly and that the parking is a nightmare.
4. They have no time for church on a Sunday morning, the in-laws are over for dinner and they have spuds to peel!!!
I of course disagree profoundly with this perception of what church is. But I do accept that this is the view of many in our post-Christian Valley.
The other Sunday morning I was driving to another church down in Chepstow to preach (give my lot a bit of a break from me).
I was surprised to see so much traffic on the road, the queue was much the same as a weekday rush hour. As I crawled through I eventually saw where everyone was going……..the church of Tesco.
I was saddened to see the car park so full on a Sunday morning and wished our church would receive such enthusiasm. I could see families battling for a car parking space all in a mad rush to buy buy buy!
Inside this big grey cold building were hundreds of strangers who gave up their “morning in bed” to scramble around for worthless bargains so they can give their hard earned money over to a man-made intuition all in a bid to gain loyalty points. (You can see where I am going with this).
The people were struggling to find what they “need” under the screams of wild toddlers, it is not a child friendly place.
I can imagine that they all arrived home stressed and exhausted, regretting how much money they had spent. But they will no doubt religiously return next week to go through the same process.
The point I am trying to make is clear, many of the reasons why people in our community do not come to church on a Sunday morning are the very same reasons why they are happy to go to our local Tesco. But what is more frustrating is that their view of church in the first place is way off!
Church is not like a supermarket on a Sunday morning.
Church is just like visiting your closest family, relations of all ages and backgrounds that come together for an hour to escape from the world, recharge and thank their Father in Heaven for all He has done for them.
Church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners who do not judge anyone who comes through the door, but are keen to welcome newcommers into the family.
We start at 11am, so you can still have that all important ‘morning in bed’. All are welcome, there is no dress code (unlike Tesco), you can come in your Sunday best or in your pyjamas!
We have a Sunday school during the message, so the children are entertained.
Like Tesco the church is a big building, but it is heated, with comfortable seats, free parking, disabled access and fantastic facilities for all.
The messages given each week will teach you about the profound truths of the Gospel that is far better than any promotional offer.
By God’s Grace you will know peace with Him and eternal life – and it is all for free! All you have to do is trust that Jesus paid the price for you on the cross to have a relationship with God (no clubcard points required).
After the service (which takes about an hour), people are welcome to stay for tea and coffee (and of course cake) and turn strangers into family and gain a support network within the community.
After the service you go home refreshed, revived in Spirit and Soul ready to take on the world, or at least battle the inlaws!
We do have a collection plate at the beginning of the service, nothing is expected from non-members, we ask people to give a donation as the Lord allows. Our church is totally independent, so the money does not get lost in any hierarchical system or in bureaucracy, so every penny donated goes directly into the community through our various ministries. (Including Mothers and Toddlers Groups, Primary School clubs, Youth groups, charity services, family support, job clubs, working with the poor, sick and elderly).
I understand that we are in are in a “post-christian” nation and that some in our valley have no choice but to work on the Lords day. I also understand that Sunday may be the only time you can get to the shops, but I plead with you not to miss out on the many benefits of church for the chance of a reduced cabbage in the bargain bin, or a BOGOF offer on Daz.
If you can’t make our Sunday morning service, we understand and we do accommodated for such difficulties (just as they did in Acts) and we run services at different times on different days that maybe more convenient for those who wish to come. To find out more click here – Noddfa . We’d love to welcome you!