Whats your journey like ?

I write this having been to Dads house in Co Durham. For the fourth time in. 3 weeks I’ve travelled 140 miles to see him. It’s a long and tiring journey, almost entirely on the A38 and M1. Over the years and especially recently it’s a journey I’ve come to know exceedingly well. In my mind I map it out as a series of landmarks: after 1 hour I expect to be beyond Sheffield and by 2 hours past Leeds. I stop at Wetherby or Boroughbridge depending on time. I can then crack on to go past Scotch corner and then the A167 for Dads house. On the way I’ve passed Catterick Garrison where my cousin was stationed, and the sign for Old Mothers Shiptons Cave which I’ve never been to but is on my bucket list to visit one day.

The point of this travelogue ? It’s become such a familiar route that I rarely think about the mechanics of it? I just follow the familiar routine.

Sometimes Church life is like that: we follow the same routine as we’ve always done, without thought. We pay lip service to finding an alternative route, but we don’t have the courage in case it goes wrong and we get lost !

But to try something different can often energise and excite us, and again it’s the same in Church. Why do we always have to have the chairs in rows identical to the pews they replaced ? Why do we sing 4/5 hymns and not 2 or 6 ? Why does the service have to be an hour because God might want longer (or shorter). The first important point isn’t contained in the answers we offer but in the wrestle and struggle to work out an answer as that means we are searching for Gods will not our own; the second important point isn’t about clapping ourselves on the back but it’s about being prepared to change it all again when God directs us. We are a nomadic religion, never settling and always on the move as we are reminded in hymn 450 (Hymns and Psalms). The trouble is that many of us (if not all of us at some time) have settled, put roots down: we start to use expressions such as “my church”, “we don’t do it that way”, “it was better in the old days” and so on. We start to think about making ourselves comfortable instead of furthering the mission of the Church, telling others about Jesus.

All who call themselves Christian are engaged in a mindbogglingly exciting journey that shouldn’t ever be mundane like the M1 but is full of excitement if you’re prepared to let go of the route you’ve always known and take the risk of something different. Ask yourselves the question, “are you on the journey or have you stopped at the services and never quite got going again ?

I want to see the Church grow, numerically, spiritually and powerfully. I’ve been blessed to have Jesus as my driver since I was 16 and its been a great adventure but theres more yet.

Are you up for joining me on the journey ?