12.58pm on Thursday 13 June 2024

Ways of Being Church

There is only one church although it exists in many forms and shapes

After Sunday focuses on two ways of thinking about church, both of which are essential to give a whole perspective. It is like looking at an object through one eye or two.

There is a great deal of interest in different ways of being church and there are many exciting new developments and ideas. You can find a lot of inspiration by looking at the Fresh Expressions website.

Gathered Church

/images/781647_keeping_the_faith.jpgThe church is most generally recognised in its Gathered Form. Here the people of God come together for worship, learning and fellowship. They come together at specific times and in specific places, in large or small groups. As a Gathered Church, people readily identify themselves as part of a community of faith. In this context people talk about 'going' to church.

Dispersed Church

/images/396369_salt_3.jpgThe church also exists in its Dispersed form. Here, the people of God are engaged in daily living, that is 'being' church in the world.

They may or may not be consciously alonside other Christians but are working out what their faith means in the places where they find themselves.The most helpful image for the church in its Dispersed form is salt or yeast: invisible, but having a profound effect on the flavour and life of the world.

We meet and experience God in both the Gathered forms of church and the Dispersed form. They are inseperable one form another but it is helpful to recognise the differences between the two forms as they affect the way we think about our faith. Read more about this here, in an article by Rick Brewer

we need congregations who are confident enough to walk out of church expecting to find God at work in his world and who can spot the signs of life and recognise that activity as God's

David Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury
God's Pattern

In terms of time we proabably spend about 98% of our lives 'being the church' in the world and only 2% 'going to church'.

/images/pie chart.jpgSince most of our experience of encountering God occurs in the 98% of our lives, it is quite important that when we gather and go to church, that there are helpful ways for us to make sense of that experience.

After Sunday aims to encourage individuals and small groups to reflect on the activity of God in the world as they encounter it day by day.

After Sunday is a registered charity, number 1128086. Website development by Hiltonian Media.