Social Change and the Church

Dear Friends,

For three days this week, our staff team attended the annual Wollongong Region Ministry Conference with Anglican Church workers from Cobbity and Glenfield to Miranda and Ulladulla. We endured a packed program but it was a particularly thought provoking time. The issues that have continued to roll around inside my head concern social change and the church.

Here are a few of the observations made over the week:

  • Saturday afternoons and Sundays used to be family and community time, now they are almost indistinguishable from the rest of the week.
  • Marriage used to be honoured by all but is now an optional extra.
  • Children used to be cared for in the home but now their lives are out-sourced.
  • The Bible used to be read on the ABC every night but now biblical thinking is censored in favour of hedonism and sensuality.
  • People used to gather on the street in the afternoons to play and socialise, now we sit alone and watch TV and some even watch other people watching TV!
  • The church used to be seen as a bastion for morality and social cohesion but now it’s an archaic immoral institution.
  • Voluntary participation in community activities was strong but now sports clubs struggle to find helpers.
  • Most disturbingly, there are a whole generation of children being raised who know of no connection between Easter, Christmas and Jesus.

You might say in summary that we Australians have become more consumerist and individualistic in our approach to life. And church.

The right response to this is not to lament and have conversations that begin with the words “I remember the good old days!” The right response is to pray. To pray for ourselves and our friends who do not know Jesus, that we would have the wisdom and courage to share Jesus with them.

At our AGM I lamented the fact that we have not had a regular gathering for missional prayer. How can we be a growing Christian community without ever praying together? It’s time for a change.

Each month on the first Sunday of the month, I will be in the church to pray from 4.30pm-5.30pm. I’d love you to join me and pray for those who don’t know Jesus and those who can tell them. I hope you are continuing to pray for the person or people by name who you would love to see come to know Jesus and join our fellowship by 2020.

In Christ,

Nigel