I think we have an opportunity to create something new, to harness the spiritual seeds that we see emerging. Some of us are seeing a wider audience base following our creative worship on-line – its different…’not same old, same old.’ It’s shorter and it is more visually based so it appeals to a different group of people that might otherwise come to the buildings. There is a tension in this for us as Ministers e.g. I find myself wrestling with having moved almost half my attending congregation forward to a ‘new way of doing’ worship. I feel deflated at the thought of returning to a ‘sermon slot.’ I have moved on. Some will have moved on with me…and half won’t have moved forward. I find myself asking, will those who have come forward with me on this new journey, expect to return to the traditional paths? Is this interim period a stop-gap for them? How will I feel about returning to status quo if in fact I am even permitted to do so?
In terms of the wider church – I am hoping this time will help presbyteries ‘grasp the nettle’ and move forward with courage to seriously consider closing buildings; finding new patterns for pioneer ministry to be introduced & utilize the skill sets of ministers that they currently have. Opportunities abound to introduce secondment opportunities where ministers are deployed between two congregations freeing up ministers to explore new ways of ‘ministry’ across parishes. Benefits of this could allow ministers to be refreshed and share good practice. It could also provide pioneer opportunities without additional costs to the wider church i.e. building upon fresh expressions & church without walls etc. Personally, I think there could be some huge benefits both locally and nationally.