There are times when it feels as though there is a discernible space between the Christian church and society in general. Gone are the days when the Sunday morning service was an integral part of a family’s weekly schedule.
The local church must work harder these days to gain traction in people’s lives. Changing lifestyles and changing attitudes to faith and religion have steered many in different directions, and have begun to move the Christian community more to the edge of the society.
At Macquarie Fields Baptist Church we have a vision to be a church that our community wants and enjoys connecting with. We seek to do this not just through programs and events but also by being part of our community – building relationships with those we come into contact with. We also have a commitment to ministering as a whole church family. We are committed to allowing all ages to participate in worship, in learning, and in ministering. This year we have had several events in which we tried to bring those three elements together.
Early in May we had a special multi-generational service where we focused on loving our neighbours and exploring how well we are actually connecting with our community. We had a number of activities that all ages could participate in, including discussion, reflection and prayer. We also spent time thinking about the parable of the Good Samaritan. This was all great preparation for an event we had planned for the following weekend.
We try to hold a number of events and ministries throughout the year to bless our community. Our most recent event was our second annual Family Fun Day. We held this on a Sunday morning, and had a number of free family-friendly activities including a petting zoo, sausage sizzle, kids’ craft, face-painting and a magic show which was immensely popular with all ages. It was a great day, with even more attending than last year. We had flyers explaining why we were doing this – we love Jesus, and we love our community just as he does, and we want to demonstrate our love to them by holding a no-strings-attached event.
Events like this have been really positive in our community, and they allow us to minister as a group. People have noticed that the roof won’t fall in if they enter our building, and the large, informal gathering allows us to support each other as we strike up conversations and share of ourselves. The change of mindset grew out of the process of establishing our church vision and is gaining pace as we seek to mould everything we do around it.