If you’re anything like me about 5 minutes into most sermons you might find your mind wandering off. The first thing I have to say about that is ‘bad mind, very bad mind’…or maybe not! Sometimes this wandering off might be that you’ve got a lot on your mind like something at work, what you would have been doing if you hadn’t been dragged along to church or any number of other things.
There is however that rare occasion as every preacher will tell you that the sermon is just boring. Here’s some challenges for you to do that will hopefully amuse you and those around you when you find yourself in such a situation.
See if you can tie your neighbours shoe laces to their chair or pew whilst pretending to be deep in contemplative prayer.
Search the weekly update sheet for mistypes to point out to the vicar later.
For the more charismatic types, lay down. Sleep. See how long it takes to be awoken by the sounds of people praying over you.
Cough every time the preacher says the word God/Jesus and see if anyone catches on.
Repeatedly try to catch the preachers eye and wink at them.
Tweet a message to The Church Sofa.
Attempt to get your row to do a mexican wave.
Hum the mission impossible theme tune and see if you can get out with out anyone seeing.
Every time the preacher asks a rhetorical question, answer it out loud.
Pull faces at the preacher and see how long it is before they laugh.
Let us know how you get on with these and if you have any more suggestions let us know!
Well we wouldn’t want anyone to think that we at the church sofa are biased in any way, so I’m going to give some reasons as to why the chair is mightier than the pew.
Chairs are usually more comfortable
Chairs work very well as foot rests, pews are much more damaging to the ankles
Can be set up for slalom races…better than straight line races any day
The give the health and safety person something to moan about when they’re stacked 5 times the height of the tallest person in the church
More useful as building blocks (i.e if you want to find out what Solomon’s temple looked like during a boring sermon)
On the subject of boring sermons a pew would be very hard work to throw at the preacher a chair on the other hand…
When you’re told to take a seat, with a chair you could literally take it with you
There is always one really bad chair that you don’t want…this encourages people to be on time
You can lean back on a chair on 2 legs, I know that is not what it was made for but we all do it
The youth worker is kept happy with chairs for when they have a crazy idea involving the whole church building, like when I turned the church into a beach by filling it with sand, turning the heat up, lighting a BBQ and playing volleyball!
‘How can we stop the oil gusher?” may have been the question of the summer for most Americans. Yet for many evangelical pastors and leaders, the leaking well is nothing compared to the threat posed by an ongoing gusher of a different sort: Young people pouring out of their churches, never to return.
As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment.
Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly.
Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong (why didn’t megachurches work to attract youth in the long term?) and scramble to figure out a plan to keep young members engaged in the life of the church.
Increasingly, the “plan” has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called “the emerging church”—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too “let’s rethink everything” radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity’s image and make it “cool”—remains. Continue reading “The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity – Hipster Christianity: Where Church and Cool Collide”
In the afternoon of 11th September 2001, I came home from town, I put my shopping down, turned on the TV and watched one of the worlds most shocking events in recent times unfold in front of my eyes. You can argue its possibly changed world events more then any other event of the last decade, as its lead to wars, new levels of racism, and conspiracy theories engulfing both the American and English governments.
The members of the terrorist groups responsible happened to believe in Islam
That’s right in this post, I am going to be comparing the wonders of youth work to one of the most popular movie time snacks. For some of you, you might only know pop corn in the state it comes at the cinema or in the pack from the supermarket however pop corn starts off as these little tiny kernels that are pretty rubbish really. They’re rather hard, not very tasty and a could easily be misunderstood. Just like young people really, there always seems to be a lot of fear surrounding young people in the ‘adult’ world. Look at the media we have heard loads about ASBO’s and ‘hoodies’ and youth gangs and how young people get an ‘easier time of things’ now. So where’s all the good that they do, both of us here at The Church Sofa are involved in youth work in one way or another. As for me I’ve worked as a youth worker and I’ve trained as one.
There are a few things you need to do to get the pop corn kernels to turn into nice tasty pop corn like you get at the cinema. There is a lot of potential in pop corn kernels and it takes a bit of effort to get there. First you need to have a heat source like the hob on your oven, and a sauce pan to contain it, some oil to spread the heat around and something to fuel to hob (i.e. gas or electric).
This is like working with young people there is loads of potential in young people and if you’ve been called to youth work then you’ve been called to help them become all that God has made them to be. And just like pop corn there’s a lot that needs doing. Young people need prayer, one of the most common things in Jesus’ ministry was prayer. If anyone could get away with not praying I think the Son of God who was also God would be quite a good candidate, but he prayed constantly. So let’s pray for the young people in our churches or that we work with. If you don’t know what to pray for talk to the youth worker or even (dare I say) talk to the young people, but only if you’ve been CRBed.
There also need to be people who are willing to give of their time, talents and resources to help young people develop.
So let’s remember that young people have loads of potential, they are both the church of tomorrow and the church of today. Disciples in training not waiting.
This year I was a contributor to the Greenbelt Festival on the 180 team running the skate park. Was a great time, a few tweets made it up onto the church sofa and everything. Being a contributor is pretty great, at first we had figured we were the same as volunteers so we were going into the volunteers lounge and making ourselves a cup of tea or coffee and so on. Then on the second day a woman told us that we weren’t meant to be there and that we had to go to the contributors lounge instead. We were a bit annoyed by this assuming that we would have to pay for drinks there or that it might not even exist. However we eventually found the contributors area and discovered almost what heaven might be like. We didn’t have to make our own drinks, or pay for them there was a whole team of people there to help make the festival even better for us and we got everything we could need, free wifi and electricity as well. If only I had taken something that could use either of those effectively.
Throughout the week I made it to a few talks and bands, some of the highlights were Courtney Pine and The Herbaliser on the main stage and most of the bands in the Performance Cafe. However 2 things really stood out this Greenbelt for me. One was the brilliant Beer and Hymns where there was nothing fancy about the worship leading just a plonky piano and a singer or two, no fancy new songs just a whole load of people enjoying their beer and enjoying singing hymns passionately to God. The other was a talk I went to see, by Dave Andrews, he talked about the defining characteristic of the 20th Century being violence, more people died because of a another person in the 20th century than the rest of human history! The only way we can change this is to stop thinking of plan A (treating others how they treat us or how we think they will treat us) and start following Plan B (treating others as we want to be treated). His Talk has really made me think about how my life work for this and how this can be done big scale as well as small scale. Continue reading “Greenbelt”