The blog is back.
I had an email last week that surprised me. During my time working for the Baptist Union of Great Britain I clocked up a few BA Miles. Every so often I get an email from them telling me about the wonderful offers that they have which I can take advantage of. Every once in a long while I go on their website to see how far my BA Miles will take me. It seems to me that the ratio of BA Miles to actual miles travelled is poor – something like 10:1! Perhaps they should stop calling them ‘Miles’.
Anyway, the email that I got surprised me because it informed me that the accumulated BA Miles have an expiry date! I was completely unaware of this and wonder what it is that makes them expire. Do they go off? Do they diminish in effectiveness? Or do BA not want to bother with me if I have not used them for a couple of years?
I fear that some people experience church like that. They discover suddenly that church has an expiry date of which they were unaware. They have not been around for a while and instead of a gentle ‘we’ve missed you, how are you?’ approach I have heard of some churches that send a ‘warning’ letter that their membership will lapse if they do not come back. Seriously!
Approaching people who have drifted away is not easy. They may be embarrassed or even guilty because they have not been to church for a while. The church may be feeling embarrassed or even guilty because they have not been in touch sooner. So we end up with a Mexican stand-off where neither does anything because of embarrassment or guilt and it just gets worse.
To anyone who has not been to ‘their’ church for a while and feels awkward about going back I would say, “Go! Do it! Take your courage in both hands and turn up. There may be a little awkwardness for a moment but I reckon you will be welcomed with open arms.”
To churches that have people who have not been around for a while (including ours) I would say, “Go! Do it! Pick up the phone, drop around, send a card, make contact. There may be a little awkwardness for a moment but I reckon you will usually be welcomed with open arms.”
Be blessed. Be a blessing.
A well-worn five pound note and a similarly distressed twenty pound note arrived at the Bank of England to be retired. As they moved along the conveyor belt to be burned, they struck up a conversation.
The twenty pound note reminisced about its travels all over the country. “I’ve had a pretty good life,” the twenty proclaimed. “Why I’ve been to Lands End and John O Groats, the finest restaurants in London, performances in the West End, and even ended up on a cruise to the Caribbean.”
“Wow!” said the five pound note. “You’ve really had an exciting life!”
“So tell me,” says the twenty, “where have you been throughout your lifetime?”
The five pound note replies, “Oh, I’ve been to the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Anglican Church ….”
The twenty pound note interrupts, “What’s a church?”*
*Notes of all denominations are welcome in church!