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'Ello, 'ello, 'ello

Tonight at 'thing in a pub' our speaker was the Chief Constable of Leicestershire, who is an incredibly entertaining and engaging speaker as well as being a very committed Christian.  We'd worked quite hard to advertise the event - including paying over £50 for a press advert - and attracted just two people who'd seen the advert and came because it was an opportunity to speak to the Chief Constable about something that was important to them.  At least they sat through his testimony first!

Whilst I'm glad that these folk came along - and I guess being cornered is an occupational hazard for this particular speaker - I was disappointed that the turn out overall was so low.  Some would tell me it is because it's not what God wants (though they can't tell me what God actually does want instead) some blame the day, time or venue, indeed anything but their own apathy.  Next month we have the local MP, and I guess we'll once more get a few folk who want to catch his ear.

Apart from physically dragging people in off the streets, I'm not sure what more we can do... answers on a postcard.

In the meantime at least I know that those who came along had an excellent evening, were entertained, inspired and challenged in fairly equal measure. 


  • Catriona - your post transported me to that moment when I stood at the door of one of our own carefully planned, thoroughly advertised events trying to remain upbeat as church folk turned up, one after another, without guests. Frustrating. I wonder if it is in part that the networks we inhabit have become both functional and fragmented - Weightwatchers for my butt, the PFA for my kids, but neither is connected to my faith. We live in a world full of disconnected bubbles, and struggle to help people cross from one bubble to the next.

  • Maybe they just want a club and not a missionary faith and we are just there to keep them happy!Not that I am cynical or anything.
    Also most of the people here don't seem to have friends - ahve more in the area than many of my members!

  • I watched 'Jews' the other night, about the multi-millionaire Jonathan Faith. He is so concerned that Jewish people are forgetting their heritage that he actually PAYS parents who send their kids to his local Jewish school to attend evening meetings explaining what Judaism is about!! One couple said "We've got £500 through attending this course, but its been interesting"
    It was a fascinating approach to Judaism - not sure I can imagine our people saying "If I pay you £20 will you come and hear Matt Baggott give his testimony" though!!
    And yet I desperately want them to buy two tickets at £5 each, one for themself and one for a friend - why don't they? It can't be lack of finance, I hope it's not lack of missionary zeal - so is it, as Julie says, lack of non-Xn mates?

  • As I've posted before, I think part of it is a lack of having a life outside of church, but I also think it is a lack of missionary anything at all.

    In my student days I worked for a year with an Anglican church who asked me to run a course on evangelism (using a supplied guidebook) for them - which I duly did. When we got to the end were they inspired to do anything? No. But they'd ticked a box, and that, for most, was good enough. The vicar was not impressed (with them, not me)! Similarly, sometimes we kid ourselves that holding invitation events is good enough, we don't actually need to invite people, God will simply send them along! The last one we had, the only invitations were from me and two fairly peripheral folk - a lot of core church goers don't have any other friends (or neighbours, colleagues etc).

    Sometimes I think that your average church member is either a closet Universalist, couldn't give tinker's cuss (as my Dad used to say) about the 'lost', or hopes that a giant SEP field (Someone Else's Problem Field: 'Hitchhiker's Guide') will just make the question go away. Maybe a bit like Bob's bubbles.

    Having said all that, I suspect that lifestyles are influential too. When people are travelling hundred of miles a week to go to/from work, and are stretched in seventy different directions by various commitments do they actually have time to make any friends to meet their neighbours?

    As for money - we charged nothing, gave away free sandwiches and crisps, bought Matt a drink and made a small donation to a charity of his choosing in lieu of expenses.

    If we paid folk to hear the MP next month would that constitute cash for questions?!

  • When I worked in local government, the best way to get people to attend meetings was to REALLY p**s them off about something. Once we even got a torchlit procession and a marching band of Scottish pipers! No pitchforks though, which was a relief.

    I'm not sure the analogy works, but your local MP may come close to it. Bet if anyone has a constituency gripe it'll be about a planning or an enforcement issue.

    Ask him about fair trade or trafficking or the 10p tax band and you'll probably get a good answer. Ask him about the rise of the new 'very reasonable' BNP (maybe after the meeting as you have one such councillor in Dibley, who could make mischief with the replies) and I'd be very interested in his views.

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