Saturday, October 4, 2008

Touching Base! Part 3

In & Out!

When I think of “in and out” I think of how I like to shop. Get in, get what you need, and get out, unless it’s Costco, of course. I think of going to the doctor’s office – get in and get out as quickly as possible. Long waits and full body examinations are not my idea of a great way to spend the day!

For some the in and out pattern applies to their experience of church. Sunday morning represents the one and only time in the week that they have contact with the body of Christ. They come in the same entrance, down the same aisle each week. They answer the most commonly asked and insincere question, “how are you?”- the same way – “fine”, even though it may be the furthest thing from the truth (excuse my cynicism). Then they proceed to find their safe space (not too close to the front) where they can view the action up front. Once the service is over, they make as little eye contact as possible, smile when necessary and move toward the exit. Once the exit door is behind them, their in and out experience is over until the next week, same time, same answer (“fine”) same pew.

As a Bethelite, how many do you think essentially experience church like this each week? How many never connect, don’t want to connect or cannot find any engaging opportunity to connect? How many experience this kind of crowded loneliness in the pew each week? I have talked with several of you who feel this is a challenge area at Bethel. Several feel that we need to somehowcrack the code of insular living, cocooning, and help people experience authentic community.

Is this your experience: in and out? Let’s work at changing it for yourself and for others!

Mark Kotchapaw

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