Dion put a post in his blog about emergent church stuff that set me thinking. Too many thoughts to just comment on his post. But I haven't had time to blog the thoughts until now and I'm not sure what's left!
We did church in a coffee shop in a church (if you know what I mean) for nearly two years and it was actually reasonably successful. We had an evening service of about 25 people in a place where (in retrospect) it was crazy to expect people to come at night.
But I am wondering whether the concept is really suited to the South African people. I know it works in pockets in the USA and Europe. I am not convinced that it is what people in the area where I live want (middle to upper class?).
Now I'm in a different church. I can't stop myself being post-modern and trying to reach people in that way - but I am struggling to really identify that which will appeal to young South Africans. I just know that it is not as easy and straight-forward as some people say! People are an almost paradoxical mix of conservative and radical. They want the predictable and they want surprises. They want community and they want to be able to worship alone. The 20 and 30 somethings in our congregation want to sing the old Sunday School songs. The teenagers choke over hymns. The 40 somethings (like me!) still want to be teenagers.
Multi-media - yes. Authenticity, a hundred times yes. Church in a coffee shop - not any more. They are looking for church in a church. Or perhaps Christianity without a church. Or maybe we can find some uniquely South African way of doing things. I wonder if effective serving is maybe a key. Post-moderns want to change the world for the better and are willing to do it one hungry child at a time.
On a different tack, what is interesting is the number of people in South Africa who are making the move from pre-modern to post-modern and skipping or only stopping briefly at modern. One day the rain was God's tears. The next it is something be experienced as spiritually uplifting. Without necessarily going through meteorological understanding of any kind. Essentially, I mean black people who are still close to poverty. That is a whole new avenue of post-modern ministry. Because story-telling is pre-modern and story-telling is post-modern. That is a good bridge.
I know I am becoming incoherent - because I don't want to make this post too long. If anyone knows what I am trying to say, please help me out!