I saw this sign today while visiting Wells-next-the-sea (on the North Norfolk coast). It was on the board inside the churchyard for the Evangelical Congregational Church Centre. I can’t figure out if they are advertising a programme, giving a ‘thought for the day’, or trying to say that the church is the ‘personal Jesus’.
With no referent, I assume they are trying to reach out to those who need someone to hear their prayers and need someone to care for them. Not necessarily bad in itself, I suppose. But is this the reason for the church’s existence?
I guess this is why I have been thinking about hell and universalism this week. Without hell, it seems the church has lost a primary motivation to do to mission. It also seems that we struggle to find our reason for existing. So, we are now here to let people know we are ‘there for them’ (which reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine try to ‘be there for’ the couple who are fighting and they are trying to break them up under the pretense of caring for them).
Leading two churches worried about their future, I am struggling to article a vision for mission in a new era. I don’t think hell is useful anymore, but certainly our mission must be broader than ‘being there’ for others (again, not bad in and of itself, but not enough on its own). Any thoughts?