Pastor’s Blog October 2018

        A GENTLE PLEA FOR PUNCTUALITY.

At the risk of upsetting some of you, I want to think this month about the issue of punctuality, specifically being on time for the Sunday morning service. I know that this might seem a trivial thing given all the pressing challenges we face and I also realise it has become a bit of a joke among us, “BBC time” but I believe there are some important issues that are at stake and I would gently ask you to think about.

I think our attitude to this betrays two things about us. In the first place it suggests that we have become inward looking, we the regulars don’t mind if we  start late because we are used to it and know each other and does it matter any way. Secondly I think it suggests that our expectations are pretty low for what we will experience on a Sunday.

There are I believe two good reasons we should think carefully about our punctuality:

  1. Our worship. Each week the prime minister meets with the Queen to discuss the state of the nation. Royal protocol demands that the prime minister be there on time and by all accounts the Queen can be quite frosty if they are late. Once a week we gather together for the immense privilege of meeting with the God who is the king above all Kings. Is it possible that our attitude here suggests a certain lack of respect for our God?
  2. Our Welcome. On a couple of occasions during the summer we had visitors, people who had moved into the area and were looking for a church to belong too, at 10.30 there were barely 20 people to be seen in church. Research suggests that people make up their minds about a church within 10 minutes of entering the building. What are we communicating to visitors who don’t know the unwritten rule we don’t really get going until 10.40? There are many good things to commend us as a church but wouldn’t it be a shame if we are missing out on new families joining us because of our poor time keeping. Being a welcoming church is the work of us all not the few. It’s rather like inviting people round for coffee and not being in when they get there. That’s fine if we know people well but if we are just getting to know them it may prove problematic.

I do believe that we should be ready and eager to go before 10.30 and that if we were it would benefit both our worship and our welcome.

 

Phil Dixon