The whole bums on seats thing seems inherently unhelpful. Surely the number of people at a service can't be the only thing that has a bearing on its 'success'. At the moment however, there feels like there is a pressure on SC to attract large numbers of people to services and that if and when we manage to achieve these large numbers we know then that we are 'successful'. But of course the large numbers, if they happen at all, are going to take time - it's not going to happen on Sunday or maybe even for a few years. But the pressure is still there, we are somehow not saying or doing anything worthwhile for many people until we achieve the quantifiable goal of large numbers of people attending our services.
And so I'm wondering just how much energy we are expelling playing someone else's game? Maybe we need to focus in other places of connection. I am starting to wonder what other ways there are in 2012 to see the Holy Spirit move through a community. As a questionable Anglo Catholic I'm not suggesting that we dump our wonderful liturgical past, that has and does carry out so effectively and with such beauty Jesus' command to 'do this in remembrance of me' - to perform certain acts. I'm am however, wondering, just how radical we might need to be in a (post) post-modern society in carrying out that command today.
There are so many ways in which technology affects our lives, so many ways in which we are using that technology to communicate with each other and also to express ourselves. And I'm not just talking about Facebook, Twitter etc but at the ways in which artists and people involved in all the media streams are finding ways to express themselves. But at the moment it seems to me that 'Church' is focused in two places; its buildings and what goes on in them and its mission initiatives (stuff going on in the community or the wider world that has a agenda around social justice or gaining more bums on seats/lives turned to Christ.) It's not that there's anything wrong per se, with that outlook, it's just that if its the only place our attention is, we become out of step with everyone else around us - the vast swath of British society that doesn't come and join us on Sunday.
So, how can we use more effectively the various mediums modern culture chooses to expresses itself, communicate etc.? We can't ignore the fact that we all live in a world that goes shopping in huge shopping malls, that likes to cook and eat food from around the world, that loves to watch people dance, sing, make fools of them selves. We live in rich and diverse society and for the main part we don't as Church/Christians get involved in it. In fact much of the Church would like to see itself as 'counter cultural'.
There are so many ways in which we could become a visible presence in modern culture and society, the only boundaries are the limits of our own imaginations. We need to start to explore those possibilities. We need to exist outside the church walls and the boundaries that other people would make for us. Modern culture belongs to and is created by all of us. The problem is that presently the contribution church/Christianity makes to culture either goes unseen and unnoticed or is so at odds with where everyone else is that it becomes even more redundant as a presence to be taken seriously.
We have a lot of work to do. There are so many people, committed to living lives that follow Christ, that are talented and have something important to say and offer. We need however to make ourselves heard.
So shall we see what we can come up with then?