Caught not Taught?

Caught not Taught?

16 June 2015

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Caught not Taught?

One of the things that strikes me most about the description of the early church  (Acts 2) is its simplicity. No media campaigns, no strategizing, no five year plans. Just normal people whose love for God and each other was so obvious, so attractive and contagious that it spread like wildfire and threatened to bring one of history's most powerful Empire's to its knees.

Unfortunately however, these defining characteristics of love, joy, unity and exponential growth are likely not the first thing that comes to mind when your average parishioner is asked to describe their local church. As for those outside looking in, the response is likely to be even less favourable! All too often it can feel as if our church is either at war or jumping into bed with our culture. Desperate to stay relevant, yet unsure of how to effectively communicate the gospel in a culture so at odds with the scriptures, the temptation is either to give up entirely or compromise our beliefs in a bid to make our faith more attractive.

As if the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection alone is not enough.

Somehow, somewhere, we've lost confidence in the goodness of the gospel and it would appear that our young people have caught wind of it. Disinterested and disengaged, they are leaving our churches at an alarming rate. Indeed it seems that our waters have become so muddied in the "culture wars" that we've lost sight of those basic truths that the early church knew so well; that God is for us, God is with us and He is good news.

So rather than strategising and scheming, establishing more committees and attending more conferences, I would like to suggest that we get back to basics. As if we could come up with a better method than Jesus' simple instructions to love God and love our neighbour anyhow! What if we were to stop blaming and complaining and be the change we want to see in our churches and schools, taking responsibility for our own faith and that of the children God has entrusted us with. What if we were known as a people who don't just know about God, but know God intimately and are committed to knowing Him better through the reading of His word. What if, like the early church, we could be a community of normal individuals whose lives are characterised by prayer and praise, who welcome the poor, lonely and hurting not just onto our courses but into our homes. A people for whom God is never far from our thoughts and who are acutely aware of his presence in our midst, who are generous to their core because they realise the magnitude of what God has done for them. A content, secure and satisfied people. Suddenly sounds a whole lot more attractive doesn't it?!

And this isn't just optimistic, fanciful thinking. On the contrary the Bible portrays this as the natural fruit of a community of believers who have taken their eyes off of themselves and  circumstances and fixed them firmly on Jesus. Of course the community I just described will not appear overnight, however we can each be taking steps today towards making this a reality in our own hearts, homes, churches and schools and encouraging others to do likewise. For as my parish priest often would often say, "ours is a gospel not taught but caught". 

So… Who’s In?  Emmaus would love to have a conversation with anyone involved in Church School leadership regarding how we can support you in creating communities where the Gospel is both “taught” and “caught”!

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