I chatted with a couple of people both online and off today about my post here. Here are some of things that I combined said to all of them
- Back in the 1980s, everything in Saskatoon was closed on a Sunday except for Mac’s and 7-11. Even our local pharmacy wasn’t open until 1 on a Sunday leaving lots of time for 99% of the population time to go to church.
- As late as the 80s, Saskatoon only had one night of late night shopping and in our case, it was Thursday p.m. Except for police, fire, and doctors, most of the population worked 9-5. People who worked in bars and pubs worked later but as evangelicals we were pretty confident that they were going to hell anyways and we would go to hell if we talked to them while they were working. It was better just to pretend that they don’t exist. It was easy to take kids to kids club, go to Wednesday night prayer meeting and Tuesday night Bible study.
- Drive around Saskatoon some night. Take a look at what is open now. Almost every mall, department store, restaurant, and many professional businesses are open a lot later now than they were back in the 80s. This is good for jobs but it does make it a lot harder for other people.
- Most church offices are open from 9-4:30 or 9-5 which gives pastors and staff time to go to church again in the evening.
- Drive around Saskatoon on Sunday after you are finished church. Almost everything is open. Restaurants, stores, malls, entertainment complexes… everything. Where and how are the people who are working those jobs going to connect to your church? Before you suggest a small group, I’ll remind you that Wendy and I have one free night together a week now and one night a week that we are together as a family. Is that to be dedicated to a small group and if it is, should it be a divorce recovery small group?
- I said to a couple of people today, when you look at your church schedule, ask yourself if there are places to connect for people who are working weekends or have two jobs to make ends meet.
- If there isn’t, have you thought of some online options for community? It isn’t hard to make a podcast using Google’s free Blogger service. Let people plug-in when they have time… coffee breaks, lunch time, on the drive home… whenever… Stephen Shields at Faithmaps has been building communities online with Yahoo! Groups for years and people can plug-in when the time works for them, early morning, late at night… whenever.
- The big question is one that Pete Ward asked in Liquid Church. Is your idea of church linked to your land and building? Can those that are not sitting in your pews have a chance to connect in a real way to your community?