Tuesday, July 26, 2005

here's a half baked thought

we had a great weekend away back in february this year. weekends away always seem to be times of accelerated growth and community building etc. after our last one a number of people said we should have 2 a year rather than 1. i have been thinking over the last week and i've had a crazy thought:
if weekends away are such significant times, why don't we JUST do weekends away - like one a month or something like that. the first weekend of every month could be a weekend away. and not do anything in between (or maybe do small groups or something). a fund could be set up for people who would struggle to pay for it. it could be quite a monastic thing - eating together, set times of prayer etc. and you get all the benefits of having recreational time together etc.
ok - maybe it's a bit of a crazy idea, but you gotta admit it's a pattern of church we haven't seen before.


Ben said...

not half baked at all Matt, I like it. Then the weekend would really become celebrations or festivals of all that had gone on in the weeks between.

RichardH said...

I always think weekends away are good because of many things including the lack of time pressures, being out of your normal environment/neutral ground, sharing with others in a different ways etc. The experience is similar to a holiday I suppose...

However I have a few problems with doing it on a regular basis, the first being is that people tend to get into routines and then the refreshment that comes from doing something different actually disapears - I don't think anything one can do can avoid that - for most people familiarity or possibly "getting into a rut" is comforting up to a point!

The second, and I suppose this comment is really from a person in a different situation to most of those who may attend home, is that when you have kids, other responsibilities etc, the ability to attend something like this would be difficult on a regular basis. Setting up something financial doesn't solve the problem in its entirity. I suppose what I am getting at is that if weekends away become a norm the "congregation" could become less of a community because of the inability for different people groups to get along as often as others. Now this happens of course in a "traditional" church Sunday but proably in a lesser way. Of course if home is not aiming to be open and inclusive...(sorry just being a bit provocative!)

The third point I suppose is more general and is that I think we need people like to think up "crazy ideas" and outside of the box but I would like to encourage you to not think outside the box in a way that throws the good bits of the old out for the sake of it and doesn't just try to meet a need for a minority of people who meet certain criteria. Also remember that we should not only think but discern.

I am all for "home" and emerging church but I do myself worry that trying to meet the needs of a group of people who meet a set of criteria today could lead to a church flying apart tommorow or at the least could lead to either dissilusionment of current members when their lives take them outside the mould or criteria which originally attracted them to the church (if the church stays the same) or the other possible scenario I can see is that the church moves with those members whos lives change (hopefully the church would move together) but this could imply that it would no longer meet those who the chuch was initially set up to meet because they don't fit into the current expressions of church.

Maybe my reasoning is too worldly or maybe the idea of emerging church is...hmmm thats started me thinking now! Its a conundrum to which currently I haven't got the answer I am afraid but I would like to know what you all think...