A couple of days ago I discovered Park Runs. Park Runs are a very simple concept. Each Saturday at 9am across the country 5km runs are offered in set locations. All you need to do to take part is bring a bar code and two hours after the event you are given a time. So today I turned up at Plymbridge Woods. I didn’t know what to expect. In fact I found a crowd of about 120, all very friendly and with no pressure to have any pretensions about running.
It made me wonder about how people feel about joining a church. We offer something at a set time each week but are we clear what we are offering? Do we make it easy for people to join? And are we relaxed about people joining? I heard a joke recently that joining a church can be rather like standing too close to a helicopter – you are all too easily sucked into the rotas. Sometimes we can be so anxious about newcomers arriving, we can treat them immediately as potential converts or labourers in the harvest field. And then we wonder why they don’t come back.
We need to learn to enjoy newcomers, to accept the reasons why they have come and simply let them take part. After all, if God has called them to us, we can be sure He has His hand upon their life, and leave the Holy Spirit to do His work.