This is the beginning of a story, a journey from working within a mainstream established church to stepping outside. We were a group of friends, all keen members of our local evangelical church, beavering away in ministry, preaching, children’s work, youth clubs, evangelism. We were at our most energised when we were able to invite our many non-churched friends along. To men’s evenings, women’s socials, Christmas specials, Sunday morning services. Long term friendship building, careful conversations, acres of prayer, creating the right event, choosing the right moment to invite… and they came! That special moment when they do come along, and there they are, sitting beside you. Only to watch their confused expressions, their polite smiles, their gradual loss of interest.
‘No thanks, its just not for me.’
Was it the length of service, the jargon, the sense of ‘inward looking clubbiness’, the liturgy, the outdated worship style, the embarrassing questions or the laboured call from the front? Any or all of the above seemed to happen time after time. We invited them, they came, they never came back.