I’ll cut to the chase and say straight out that the writer of this blog is a Christian but that regardless of your spiritual persuasion, you are welcome here.
First. My apologies.
Even if you are actually interested in attending a Church and finding out what the whole Bible ‘n’ God story is about, you might feel more than just a little bit tentative about attending a Sunday gathering at your local place of Christian worship. Will they be friendly? Will you feel welcome? Will you fit in?
I know this because there are plenty of times when I myself have felt on the outside in Church; that I don’t fit in or belong. This coming from one of “them”, an insider. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be for someone who has never stepped foot into a Church building before.
But I’m trying to put myself into the shoes of myself as a hypothetical not-a-Christian (HNAC) mid-thirties woman.
The whole thing is an unknown. That includes the general order of activities in a service, what you’re supposed to do at each point, the general Christian jargon… and the fact that you don’t know a single person there, perhaps.
My HNAC self would really want to be strongly compelled to turn up there on a Sunday morning when there is plenty else she could be doing instead. Where’s the incentive?
I (my actual self!) get it completely.
Church on a Sunday morning probably doesn’t look like it has any relevance to your life.
Plus there’s already so much you need to do before Monday morning comes around again. The weekend is a chance to catch up on what you didn’t get done before you clocked off on Friday (if you are able to) and Sunday morning is your only chance to get that complete and ticked off your ‘to do’ list.
Alternatively, if you were already out doing something else early on a Sunday (eg playing sport), why would you swing by the local Church for an hour or two on a Sunday on the way home? Your schedule is already mega-crammed with goals and priorities for the week ahead. Church on a Sunday? Where’s the value-adding in that?
Please don’t get confused at this point and think that I believe that Church is a waste of time. Far from it. But there are plenty of people who aren’t of that opinion.
My HNAC self wouldn’t be turning up to a Church if she had a spare few hours on a Sunday morning. She’d probably be at a local café catching up with friends or solo, sipping a latte whilst flipping through the pages of a Sunday paper or magazine updating her on some royals or celebrity fashions.
You’d really have to sell that whole idea of Church with some strong marketing because she’d find the weekly gathering somewhat irrelevant to her life.
Here’s what I actually do during the week:
I’m a high school teacher. I work in a public school in New South Wales, Australia. I teach English as an Additional Language to teenage males, mostly from a Mandarin speaking background.
Church on a Sunday. Where’s ‘the connect’?
In my job in recent years I’ve delivered reviews of my school’s performance in NAPLAN and the implications for teaching (could my life get more exciting?).
But even as dull as NAPLAN data can be, I feel that holds more value to your local “I’ve never attended Church in my life” parent with school aged children, than what we offer at Church.
In short, my apology is this: we’ve not marketed our product as well as we should have. Because believe you- me, the product on offer is actually great and relevant. It’s also free.
So if you’ve been given the impression that it’s none of the above, then that’s our fault.
And if you are actually interested in Jesus things – I’m sorry.
As mentioned above, I’m an English teacher. One of the things I’ve been teaching my year eleven’s this year is that every text has a purpose, audience, perspective and context.
Let me just give you the audience for now.
This blog is not really for Christians.
This blog is for those people who, much like my hypothetical not-a-Christian self, wouldn’t be walking themselves into their local Church anytime soon, ever. Yet despite that fact, much like my nerdy self, you are perhaps interested in broadening your general knowledge to include some information about The Bible. This blog is for you.
Hopefully you haven’t found this post so terrible that you won’t come back again.
Yours in remorse,
Image Credit: Personal Collection (taken by @biblengod at Floriade)