I preached at Holy Cross today. The reading for the day was Matthew 15:21-28 - the Canaanite Woman. This gave me an opportunity to speak about marathon running - having sat up during the night to watch the women's marathon at the Beijing Olympics. Paula Radcliffe did her best to finish even though she clearly wasn't fit enough. The winner was a Rumanian who took off and kept going even though everyone else thought she would grind to a halt... This provided a great link to the reading, picking up themes of persistence and constant re-thinking in the pursuit of an important goal.
In the second part of the service I decided to experiment and ask the congregation what they thought they might need from Church in order to pursue their own calling to be disciples. I pointed out that Church is a "school for disciples" rather than a "club for saints". If this is really true, what do we need? What should preachers talk about? What themes would be worth exploring?
I collected the results and would like to say that the most common suggestions were:
a. Sharing the Gospel
b. Being a Disciple
c. Being Christians in our local community
d. The Communion Service
e. The Background to the Bible
I was suprised to see evangelism at the top of the list, but there were refrences to "getting more people to come to church" so there may be questions about motivation to unpack. I would be interesting to know if other churches would produce a similar list...
The question for me know is to think about how I follow this up in my preparation for worship.