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Waving Goodbye to Your Church Building

ashley_100How does your church invite immigrants in? How about single Mom's? Youth? If you're focusing on the invite, you're already losing, at least according to the latest stats on church & faith released this past month by World Vision Canada.

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World Vision is discovering that churches have to be going out into their community, meeting the needs of their neighbours, engaging their neighbours, dare we say, loving their neighbours not sitting inside their nice, clean, insular church building, attempting a guess at why their church pews are emptying instead of filling,

We're in a new era where less than 15% of Canadians attend a weekly church service, although 80% of Canadians say they believe in a God. The gap between those who believe Jesus Christ is Lord and those who could hardly care is growing rapidly. Since 1984, the percentage of teens who call themselves Christian has almost been cut in half while the number who call themselves atheist has grown to 16%. One third of Canadians aged 15-25 have never even attended a religious institution.

Why are we a culture that is losing faith? Are our churches doing something wrong?

World Vision Canada and Bruxy Cavery, Teaching Pastor at The Meeting House Church and author of "The End of Religion" are getting church leaders together to talk about these very questions.

Tuesday afternoon, 130+ Ottawa-area church leaders gathered together or more like put their heads together, to discuss what can be done to get more people hearing about Jesus and more people living with Jesus as the King of their lives. {Shown in picture: Don Moore National Church Ambassador at World Vision Canada, Bruxy Cavey & Dave Toycen, President of World Vision Canada*}shifting_stats_leaders

The topics on deck were: immigration, single parent homes, money, technology and youth. The big take away for me was meeting people where they are. Gone are the days where the church had people willingly coming through their doors every Sunday asking for help. The church must exit their doors and bring the church directly to the people. The Gospel is an action, a way of life, a submission to live differently and to do this publicly, not simply behind closed doors.

How does your church get into the community and make friends? How many of you can name the 3 neighbours on each side of your home? Do you know the names of each of your co-workers kids? Did you visit your friend's Mom when she was in the hospital last week? How about stepping into a neighbourhood with new immigrants and offering to help them move? These are some of the ideas I heard at the Leaders Forum on Tuesday.

For myself, I'm moving into a new apartment at the end of the month and I am going to get to know my neighbours. I'm not going to hide in my apartment, safely hidden behind my closed door and distracted by my Netflix account. I want to talk with my neighbours, find out what's happening in their lives and offer a hand if needed. We are the church, we are the body of Christ and it's our responsibility privilege to open wide the doors of the church and run out to our neighbours.

 

Follow Ashley @ashleylelliott

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{Chatting with Bruxy after the event}

*Photo by Erin Biggs

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