March 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm #57294
Well, I’m pretty new to Christian Science (began seriously studying and practicing about 2 years ago) and I’ve just recently become a member of my local branch church. I have been thinking a lot about how thankful and blessed I am to live so close to our wonderful branch church and reading room. I started serving in the reading room and on different committees. Recently I’ve had some ideas about how to liven up a few church activities. I’d like to share these ideas but I feel I haven’t really earned my stripes. I don’t want to come across as some gung-ho new person who wants to change a bunch of stuff. I know there are so many who are comfortable with everything just the way it is. I’ve found these two statements from Science & Health to be helpful:
“Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.” – pg 1:11
“Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear.” – pg 508:16
Have any of you ever had the opportunity to share or use your creative inspiration in church? How did you pray about it?March 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm #57319
Don’t hide your light, just take your ideas as God’s ideas, not yours. Why would you not deliver God’s messages to that church? Even if the other members shouldn’t react very welcoming at first, be sure that God gives you ideas that are good and useful and a full blessing. Just talk about it, give those ideas freely! And listen to God to hear when it’s the right time to come up with ideas and how. :)March 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm #57396
Thanks Isabella, that’s very helpful! I did talk about my ideas at our meeting after church service and got very positive feedback and support. I’m glad I didn’t let mortal mind talk me out of speaking up!March 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm #57496
So great that you got good feedback. I think you should always share your ideas. Sometimes people don’t embrace them right away, but sometimes they do. ;) Also, there have been times when my idea didn’t get picked up, but then a couple of months later, it does, but in a new improved version.March 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm #57497
I’m glad you shared too, Rebekah. I’d love some new ideas in our church! Maybe if you have some ideas you could share them here. I mean, if they aren’t really specific that they’d only work for your group. I’d love to hear them. We may even try some of them. :)March 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm #57498
I love the idea of new (and young) Christian Scientists coming into CS and church activities and just being thinkers and real people, not prone to see things as “oh, this is the way it’s always been…” So exiting! :-)March 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm #57502
Thanks all for your support as well! Most of these ideas are simple or recycled, not truly original, but functional and important nonetheless.
Here are some of the ideas I’ve been working with:
I LOVE the online chats, and we host them in our reading room. The times and topics of the chats are announced in church, and we have a small group of regulars that do attend the chats. One day I realized that only the people from our church knew about them. I love how in the beginning of the Sentinel chats it’s stated that you don’t have to be a Christian Scientist to ask a question. So I came up with ideas on how to involve the community at large with what we offer. At the meeting we ended up batting around ideas such as flyers, adds on our local public access cable channel, an “upcoming events” poster for the window of the RR, an extra page on our church’s website, and so forth.
The second idea was to obtain a trademark license for the cross and crown symbol for use at our Reading Room. This was just something I picked up from an article in the March Journal. In the article many reported increased activity and interest after displaying the symbol at their church or reading room.
The third idea was to host an online lecture once a month at the RR as well as the Sentinel chats. I also read about this being offered by another church, but I can’t remember where I saw it.
The fourth idea was organizing a vacation bible school for the summer months. I was talking with a friend from the Unity church a while back, and the subject of vacation bible school came up. This friend said their church didn’t offer it, and were interested to know if ours did. I know VBS was so important to me when I was growing up. I was raised Lutheran and our church always offered VBS. Every year, in addition to all the learning activities and fun stuff, we would have something to contribute to our community, like canned food drives or shoe donations or something like that. I loved the spirit of kindness and the Christian fellowship that VBS offered to the youth of our church, and of course I loved to participate! However, I have yet to suggest this idea, as it is a pretty involved venture.
I guess my thought behind all of this was to expand the sense of “church” and include the whole community. There is a saying, “grow where you are planted”, and I’ve really thought about how that applies in our spiritual journey. In my area, there isn’t a big CS community, and I was sort of fantasizing one day about moving to a more CS-friendly place. After I had my little places all picked out and my imaginary bags all packed, a couple of angel messages came: “There is no spot where God is not”, and “grow where you are planted”. Goodness, where can I start then?
Through more prayer and study on this subject of church and community, and what it means to be a part of the CS movement, I presented my ideas at the meeting, and they all were well received! Of course they all have to go before the board to become official, but I’ve since gotten calls from other church members offering their thoughts and creative abilities as well.
This statement that Jesus made came to thought often as well:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matt. 5:14-16
Let your light shine wherever, however you are :)March 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm #57510
Great ideas Rebekah! Know that the same Mind that’s giving you these ideas and desires is also guiding everyone. :-) It’s true, there’s been times where I’ll have profound inspiration and a definite idea. And I might think, “Wow, I’ve got to DO SOMETHING about this! I’ve got to tell others, and maybe we can get something together…” Then, come to find out, the idea was already being organized, and I was able to support the idea and play the role I was supposed to play in it. We are part of Mind, and Mind is unfolding the Christ consciousness in all of us, and these wonderful ideas come to fruition because the already exist in Mind. :-)March 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm #57511
That’s not to say we don’t have to communicate these ideas to others when we get inspiration. It’s important to play whatever role we might play in bringing ideas to fruition. :-)March 8, 2012 at 11:14 am #57630
Glad to see that you posted some specific suggestions which you had made to your branch church. The CS church really needs new people like you to come forward with some fresh ideas. I think that for too long the CS churches have been in a “business as usual” mode and have become bogged down in stale tradition. In the early days of CS, back in the “teens and twenties”, when CS churches were growing rapidly, it seemed that CS was in the forefront of “where it was happening” in religious thought. Over the ensusing decades, however, the CS churches have become almost “invisible” and inconsequental in modern religious activity.
One more thing. About the Vacation Bible School idea: several CS churches have tried this very successfully. I wish that I could remember the specific churches. One of them, I believe, was in Virginia (I think it had the word “Falls” in the name of the town). The other was in southern California. I wish I could be more specific, but perhaps you will be able to track these down.
Keep up the good work. And keep the ideas coming! We need them.March 8, 2012 at 11:33 am #57637
I love the new ideas. I’ve loved every visit I’ve made to churches that are doing things from a really fresh perspective and I’ve visited quite a few since I was part of the Church–unconfined team (precursor to Church Alive) that went around filming these different groups. BUT I don’t think that the folks in our churches were ever on remote control. Living as a Christian Scientist is pretty radical no matter what the church expression. And I know for a fact that there have been many individuals healed in those “stale” church services, as you describe them. I am one of those. Instead of cutting down the past, why don’t we just be grateful for the people who showed up and worked for church and then do the same in the best way we can?March 8, 2012 at 11:37 am #57640
Love your enthusiasm, Rebekah! First Church Laguna Niguel is one of the branch churches that has held a Vacation Bible School. There’s a video about it on the Church Alive section of christianscience.com– here.March 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm #57654
Hi Rebekah and everyone!
I’ve loved all y’all’s posts about church and new ideas! I wanted to make sure you knew about the hangout I’m hosting over Google+ tonight, at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. The info is under a discussion thread on this forum at this link: http://bit.ly/zSyU2Q
Please email me to let me know if you’d like to participate. I’d love to hear your voice and thoughts on this vital and vibrant subject! No worries if you’d rather not or are busy – there’ll also be a Real Talk topic about church this coming Sunday :-)
Enjoy this great day – hope to see you this evening!March 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm #57656
2nd Samuel 7 is a great chapter of the Bible about making changes in church. David has recently become king of Israel, and he sees an opportunity to make “church” better, you might say. He realizes that he’s living in an incredible palace, but the ark of the covenant is still kept outside in a tent. So he starts coming up with big plans to enhance things by building the temple of Jerusalem. He tells his plans to the prophet Nathan, and immediately Nathan is on board with him. But Nathan’s prayers go through quite an evolution later that evening, and that evolution occupies most of this chapter.
First the response from God that Nathan hears emphatically points out that they hadn’t been doing anything wrong in all these many years past. To paraphrase, God starts saying, “in all these many years when I walked with the children of Israel, did I ever ask them to build me a temple?”
Yet, the prayer we see unfolds and confirms that David has the green-light to go ahead with this new temple project. I just think it’s interesting that God specifically, and emphatically, points out that the lack of the temple in the past is no indication that anything was wrong, or out of control, or incomplete. God does help David with the promise in his heart to build this new temple, but he honors the “church goers,” you might say, that have gone before him by remembering that they, too, were acting under God’s direction at the time.March 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm #57658
This might tie in with something I’ve been thinking about. “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” If we focus on our own relationship with God, and our own moral integrity, we won’t be concerned as much with who is and isn’t a church member or a “Christian Scientist,” but we’ll naturally be called upon to help others who are reaching out to God. And this makes our church stronger. When it comes to church, it’s not about human organization dynamics (or changes), it’s always about how clear someone is about their relationship with God. And this attracts and heals others.
So, I’ve been thinking about moral integrity today. I think it’s really the key to being a healer, and the key to a healthy life. In my own case, I would say that church is 100% in support of my moral support and growth. I think the human interaction we have through church gives us opportunity to support others morally and to express our inherent ability to be loving. But it’s also our sincere individual relationship with God, Spirit, that we strive to grow into, that I believe allows us to be less concerned about, or take a more comfortable approach to seeing how we interact humanly with our fellow church members — what our expectations of the human experience of church should and shouldn’t be. :-)
- This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by JD.
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