By Jim Hylton
CBFNC Business Administration Coordinator
“When I was young and they packed me off to school, and taught me how NOT to play the game; I didn’t mind if they groomed me for success, hah, or if they said that I was just a fool. So I left there in the morning with their God under my arm, their half-baked smiles and the book of rules. But to my old headmaster and to anyone who cares, before I go I’d like to say my prayers: I don’t believe you, you’ve got the whole d**n thing all wrong. God’s not the kind you have to wind-up on Sundays.”
These lines were written by Ian Anderson of the rock group Jethro Tull in the early 1970s and were included in the song entitled Wind-Up. I know I’m dating myself by including this, but in my college days the words from this song especially rang true to me. And they still do.
Covid-19 has changed the world and, with that, is changing practices and maybe even some cultures. Those of us in the church world and those of us concerned about education are particularly affected by this change. This has led to a lot of questioning about the way we do things. I think the words from Wind-Up are a reflection of these same questions and concerns from another time of social unrest.
As a country we are questioning how we do church as well as how we do school. This has led to many forced changes that I think will have positive results for the future. Since my concern here is primarily with the Church, I will only discuss that issue. But that does not minimize the importance of the changes surrounding all educational institutions.
Let’s face it. Our traditional way of doing church has been changed. But didn’t it need to change? Church attendance and membership have been in decline for decades and there was no reason to think this decline would not continue.
But now, with churches finding new ways to communicate and participate with their members, and even reach and participate with those who are not members, I see change that brings hope for the Church. Although the Church will always be about coming together in person and the relationships that result, we are finding new and better ways to reach the unchurched and maybe even attract some of the “nones.”
We are also finding that church doesn’t take place only in a building on Sundays. Because we have not been able to gather in our traditional way, many are finding ways to experience God outside the church building. There seems to be a greater emphasis on meeting people where they are, maybe even a little like what Jesus taught.
This also fits in with the new spirituality that many are finding in various ways, both inside the church building and outside that building. God does not dwell only in our churches on Sunday mornings. We can meet God anywhere we go and in the context of whatever we are doing. My prayer is that many folks are discovering this and that it will lead to an even deeper desire to follow Jesus.
So, like the lyrics from above (no pun intended), “God’s not the kind you have to wind-up on Sunday’s.”