mission shaped church
to 30 50 per cent among other traditions. The value and mission potential
of midweek services has been explored in a Springboard and Archbishops'
Council resource, Vital Statistics.
This sort of pattern of church life appears to be normal and typically
Anglican not a `fresh expression of church'. But midweek and other
Sunday expressions have wider implications and merit careful examination.
In The Tide is Running Out, Peter Brierley reported on youth services:
14 per cent of his church respondents held a youth service, with average
attendance of 43.
The provision of early morning, lunchtime and after work services for
teaching, apologetics and evangelism to the business community is
valuable. For some Christians in high powered travelling jobs, these
may be more meaningful expressions of church than their home base
versions. The latter often fail to connect with their workplace agenda.
They also unintentionally exclude the bringing of friends, because
network life means those who work together may live many miles apart.
A story: Welwyn Garden City
At the town centre church of St Francis of Assisi, Welwyn
Garden City, there is a thriving Sunday congregation.
However, there is also a growing Wednesday congregation.
The midweek congregation is composed mainly of women
who want to come to church but who also want to give value
to family time that is now squeezed into Sundays. If it is
not sports events, then other family leisure activities make
demands on the amount of time available at the weekend.
The Wednesday service includes a sermon or talk, with
opportunity for discussion over coffee afterwards. It is timed to
follow the pram service in order to encourage parents to stay
on from that if they want to.
Another slowly growing pattern of non Sunday church is where whole
groups have come to faith via an Alpha course, but find the jump from
there to congregational worship almost impossible. The style, venue and
time of a traditional Sunday service can all be problematic. The best way
to help them grow into mature disciples is to begin a congregation or
cell that is closer to Alpha in style and feel, and which meets on the
same day and time as the Alpha course.
One common strand here is that midweek church is proper church.
People attending don't, won't, or can't attend on a Sunday. The midweek