Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Croydon Churches: Java for Jesus

I’m looking forward to Croydon Churches Forum Leaders Breakfast tomorrow, part of which will be a presentation from the Nationwide Christian Trust where they will outline their vision – described as Living Oasis - for how some of the old Wesley Owen Christian bookstores can be reinvigorated and used for mission and ministry in their local contexts. This nationwide chain of Christian bookstores has recently been victims of the recession and have been in various stages of liquidation and flux in recent months.

Now, it may seem obvious to Christians that there is need for a high street outlet for Christian resources – books, DVDs, music etc, but I’m quite intrigued to hear more about the vision, and what impact such a retail environment would have on the broader community.

A cursory look at the associated NCT and Living Oasis websites seems to show that - aesthetically at least - the initiatives seem to have both feet planted firmly in the realms of “Churchianity”.

Good books about faith are important – so important - and I dearly wish my own ecclesia would read more often. I’m a massive advocate that Jesus followers should be well resourced and well read, yet I think we have to caution ourselves about creating environments that only appeal to people who behave like we do, look like we do, and share our cultural points of reference. Beware the Holy Huddle.

NCT also mention a move from “Maintenance to Mission” on their site.

Again, this is right up my alley, but the thought occurs that we still need to understand and explore – corporately and individually – what is means to follow the Missio Dei. Do we need to create our own Christian coffee shops, or should we be drinking our Java for Jesus in those places – those “third places” that already exist?

It can be done – and done well, though, as shown by church.co.uk’s recent Hub coffee shop review.

Please don’t assume this post is wholly negative. I’m just exploring and sharing my own internal ramblings, and committing them to the blogosphere!

Blogging Bishop of Croydon, Nick Baines will be at the breakfast, so it will be interesting to hear his views.

HT to Pernell Goodyear of The Freeway for the image

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