“See how these Christians love one another!” Was a common comment of many locals observing the behaviour of Jesus’ first fledgling followers in their communities across the first century AD Roman Empire. Sadly this is not always the case, but wherever the authentic, unconditional love of Christ is expressed in down to earth, tangible, transforming ways, people notice and are intrigued to seek the source of intimate caring. That’s our experience in Fullarton ConneXions, but it’s not an easy road.
Such an inclusive, forgiving and freeing community inevitably has to handle conflicts of interests, values, cultures and outlooks, when our baptism into Christ and his way of humility, service and sacrifice must be kept central, if we’re not to splutter and splinter. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Says St Paul sharing on how to growing God’s Family, in Ephesians 5:21.
Take how differently some people experience and express reverence for God in worship services. One generation has grown up to value stillness and silence in recognising God’s otherness, greatness and glory as we approach him in worship, while another generation tends to prefer loud and noisy praise songs in appreciating God’s awesome presence. With a ‘tots to nineties’ 6 generation congregation, we try to carve out some silence and stillness in services, but when the whole family is present, weans and all, it’s hard to find silence without parents feeling pressurised due the restlessness of their darling sprogs.
So, we try to grow mutual interest and respect and encourage getting to know each other in the Cafe before and after services. With the café being a bit of an ‘echo chamber’ we need to fit sound boards to make hearing, over the din of so many voices, easier. We constantly need to think of each other and ask, “How can I bless and encourage you?”
So yesterday we started our 10.30am ‘Alpha Services’, to which we’re inviting anyone and everyone to: sample our relaxed, multi-age, inclusive services, explore the basics of Christian Faith, and find a safe space to ask honest questions about life’s meaning, significance and purpose. And, from this Sunday (8th), breakfast is available from 9am, when we encourage folk to relax, grow friendships and ease into the Alpha Service, which includes the riveting 20 minute Alpha films and a panel to which searching questions can be pitched. Thereafter at 12, folk can stay on for refreshments and more questions and chat.
This new 11 week venture will require much patience from regulars and industry behind the scenes to make it work, but the beautiful thing about Fullarton folk is their willingness to try new things, especially when the aim is to help more people experience and explore the incomparable love of God in Christ. Martin Luther allegedly said, “Christians are like dung, stagnant they stink, but, on the move, they bless and encourage fruitfulness.”
So why not follow your intrigue and sneaking suspicions, and come along to ConneXions on Sunday mornings or / & plug into the Fullarton ConneXions’s Facebook page’s live stream? As yesterday proved, it’s going to be very, very interesting!