Weekend Thought Malc' Halliday: Church is about enabling others to find and grow in faith
I feel sorry for churchgoers who have known the practices and traditions of only one denomination. There is so much richness and variety to be found in churches that it seems a shame to limit ourselves to one particular "brand".
There is the beauty of Anglican Liturgy: their ability to provide the right words when we have no words of our own or we simply do not know what to say.
There is the passion of the Salvation Army for caring for the poor and expressing the gospel through practical acts of selfless service.
There is the vibrancy, noise and excitement of Pentecostal worship. The Brethren remind us of the importance of the Bible, the Methodists keep alive great hymns of Wesley that contain so much to inspire us, the Baptists demonstrate that you can do good things without being caught up in hierarchy and tradition, the Quakers remind us that God can be found in the silence as much as anywhere else.
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I could go on.
To paraphrase Robert Louis Stevenson: "The churches are full of such wonderful things, I think we should all be as happy as Kings."
At the same time I admire those churchgoers who have stayed within their denomination: indeed may even have been part of the same congregations for their entire life.
These people show a dedication and commitment that we can all learn from. They remind me that "church", in whatever variety we find it, is never about what I can get from it. Rather it is about enabling others to discover faith and grow in that faith.
I suspect many of those faithful church members have at times thought about storming off because of a disagreement or because things have changed. But they have not.
They have stayed – through good times and hard. While we can learn much from the different styles of church worship, I cannot help wondering whether it is the ones who stick where they are who will be the first to hear Jesus say: "Well done good and faithful servant."
Malc' Halliday is the Centre Manager of the Christian Resources Project Plymouth email@example.com