On Tuesday we held a 'Meet the Team' lunch for ministers in the Bedfordshire area. This was a relaxed occasion where we chatted over food, shared news, and heard from ministers. It was good to be together.
In the conversation, one thing that was striking and encouraging was the number of what was described as 'entry-level church' events that were taking place. One church has been doing Pulse Cafe once a month in a neighbouring village where there is no church; a church plant has as its main event, Brunch, mid-morning on a Sunday; and another church holds a regular 'Tea Time Church' at 4.30 on a Sunday afternoon. Most of these don't take place in the church building. All are proving to be inviting to people who otherwise would not come into church. In many respects they are variations on Cid Latty's Cafe Church, which takes place in Costas, but it was the notion of 'entry-level church' that I was taken with.
The obvious thing they hold in common is that they take place around food, that they are informal and non-churchy, and that they are driven by a tremendous desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ with their local community. Hearing from those involved, the other common factor is that they are hugely demanding in time, energy, and people resources.