One of the great things about further and higher education these days is the huge variety of courses that you can sign up for. I was intrigued recently to hear of a course where students got an opportunity of helping to design the cars of the future. I wonder what you might want in a newly designed car.
Most people would say it did not matter so much what a futuristic car looked like, so long as it could get them from place to place as safely as possible. I wondered what I would have suggested, if part of my studies had involved designing a church for the future. While I could imagine all kinds of different ideas for church buildings – some more futuristic, while others more traditional – I would say that what is really important is not only the building but the work that goes on inside that building.
Of course the more attractive a building is, the better taken care of it is, then the more likely people are to want to use it. But for many people whether they frequent a meeting place or not, usually depends on the people who are there already.
People tend to join communities where they feel welcome and where they feel they can make a positive contribution. While a car’s primary function is to get its driver from A to B, what is a church’s main function? Is it to remind people of what Christianity has done for us? Is it to pass on Jesus’ teachings from one generation to another? Is it a place to go to in order to worship the God who made us and who is interested in our day to day lives? Or does the church perhaps have all these functions and more?