I spent a glorious yet slightly overcast and somehow exhausting day yesterday helping complete 30 second questionnaires on the subject of Church with happy smiling locals as part of Groby Village’s Street Fair! An absolute gift and the perfect opportunity to positively exploit community spirit to get people talking about Jesus and yet I still feel we’re reluctant to really use it as much as we might.
Generally in life I’m treading along the thin line which separates genuine zeal and disheartened apathy, wondering if this is just how life is in the (almost) grown up world. My enthusiasm simmering just below the surface is controversially not content with selling bookmarks with the Lord’s prayer printed on them when the vast majority of potential buyers have no idea how it is that we as Christians can come before our holy God and call him ‘Father’. How come we can give out lollies and paint kid’s faces with relative ease but we don’t think it’s appropriate to bust out the free copies of Mark’s gospel that have been sitting in the church loft for the last ten years?
On the other hand, part of me just can’t be bothered to reject good old fashioned inertia and this comfortable, well tried, tested and always waterproof holy huddle. In the holy huddle there are rarely awkward conversations about whether ‘good people’ really go to hell or moments where we feel so out of our depth that we’re forced to recognize the absolute sovereignty of God. Sometimes I think that maybe I just haven’t grown up enough and I’m just yet to realise that I should give up, but I know this easy life isn’t the life we’re called to as Christians. How can we be encouraged to more actively be involved in sharing the gospel (through what we say and do) and seeing God’s kingdom truly expand?
After a long day and a few dances to finish it off (second ceilidh for me in a week!), I simply had to come home for a supposed early night. Reflecting on the day's conversations, my surprisingly sunburned face dirty from smudged black face paint reached the following broad and rather generalised conclusions;
1. People in this village are all over community spirit, not scared of Christians and more willing to talk about Jesus than you might expect
2. People in this village know about church activities but have no idea what it means to be a Christian.
3. If people in this village could ask God one question, the most frequently asked is simply ‘Why?’ ...in reference to the presence of suffering and evil in the world, wars, famines and bad things happening to good people. This closely seconded by ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ outweighed any other question asked.
4. People in this village would welcome the opportunity to find out more about the Christian faith if church did more events of this nature in future.
Although my sample size is relatively small, data qualitative and certainly not statistically tested, these conversations certainly count for something. In light of our universal call to preach Jesus Christ as Lord, what will we do with these rough and ready nuggets of info from a community so needing to know the living God?