The following article resonates with the previous posts in the church series as it kind of summarizes or encapsulates the themes. Which are: the Church can be vehicle for people experiencing God, knowing more of God, and finding meaning to life.
The churches that are growing, like the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, are offering vision and they are not afraid to say there is more to this life than meets the eye.Rodney Macaan
The next post in the church series brings a more direct application.
Baptist minister says Church can offer a real hope
By Peter Veugelaers
“I think people are looking for reality and if they find it at church they’ll embrace it. If they don’t, they’ll ignore it”, says Baptist minister Rodney Macann.
Rodney Macann, leader of the ministry team at Wellington Central Baptist and an opera singer, believes this is a very big challenge for the Church at this time.
With the media relaying dire stories of the state of the nation, such as lack of confidence in the government and the economic situation, Rodney Macann believes the Church, when it is working well, can offer a real hope for the future and community.
“A church, when it is functioning well, offers a real sense of community and mutual support for people.
“I believe we have become more selfish as a society in recent years and people are feeling much more isolated. There is a desperate need for a new sense of community, and I think the Church has a lot to offer on that side of things.
He recounts that about fifty years ago a lot of people went to Church.
“Church, in many ways, was solid, most probably a bit uninspiring, you were either Catholic or Protestant and Catholic churches offered a uniformed package and many Protestant churches offered a similar hymn, prayer sandwiched package.”
Often people went to Church because it was the done thing to do.
“That doesn’t happen today, unless it is something you really want to do.”
Disillusionment, he says, settled in with people asking why we should go to Church and “people left in droves”.
The churches that haven’t adapted and really started to communicate with people have died, he says. However, a number of churches have experienced very rapid growth.
He says the churches that are growing, like the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, are offering vision and they are not afraid to say there is more to this life than meets the eye.
“The Pentecostal movement worldwide is the fastest growing non-militaristic movement in human history.”
He believes these churches present more of a vision of a God who is interested in people and wants to have an involvement in their lives.
The traditional churches have been torn apart by a huge questioning of their base beliefs, like saying that this world is all there is, mentions Rodney Macaan. They have nothing to offer, he says, and people like Jim Veitch, who get a lot of media space, represent the dying Church.
Rodney Macaan thinks people are turning to alternative spiritualities, because they are seeking meaning, security and significance.
He says of the Christian hope: “I think when people see things turn to custard around them then the sense that are part of something bigger, that there is a God out there who is interested in them and that there is something good and wonderful beyond this world. That’s a great message.”
[Published 2000, Challenge Weekly]