24 April, 2014 Andrew Evans
What is it?
A meeting in a bar in the centre of Liverpool on a Monday from 6 to 7pm. The main content takes the format of an extended interview (30 mins) between one of the church staff and the person who preached the sermon on Sunday morning. Essentially we give the sermon again but in a different format.
Who is it for?
Four groups of people, roughly in this order of importance:
a) People who are not Christians who might not want to come to a Sunday church service but who will come to this, either because invited by a friend or through flyers/social media.
b) Christians who don’t go to church anywhere at present but for whom this might be a gentle way back in.
c) Christians who come to Christ Church but cannot attend on Sunday mornings because of work or other commitments.
d) Christians who normally attend on Sunday mornings but were away this week because of work, family, holidays etc.
Why do it?
The idea bubbled up from our concern to engage with and teach the Bible more effectively to group (c). But it quickly became obvious that it might also work as an alternative to the kind of lunchtime city centre ministries that seem to be effective in some cities (especially London) but have never really gained much traction in Liverpool.
As an event, it is a very low cost (the venue is free and we spend about £20 a week on chips for people to nibble) and low prep (I’ve already done the sermon the day before so it just requires a 20-minute read-over). Three weeks in, it has seen numbers growing each week; up to about 20 people, most of whom don’t come on Sundays or can’t come regularly.
Would it work for other churches?
Unlike the lunchtime meeting format I don’t think this is dependent on being in a city with a sizable business district.
You will need a core team of 5 or so people from the church who are prepared to welcome newcomers; an effort with social media marketing; and a church with something of a fringe and members who are willing to invite their friends to things.
With those provisos I think most churches could do this. I certainly think it’s worth a go! We planned it as a five-week experiment and have decided on the basis of the first three weeks to extend it further.