The Church in the Wild and Outdoor Enclosure

outdoor-church-zoo-signI have walked past this sign many, many times but a few days ago it really struck me in a new way (no, I didn’t walk into it but I do believe that God spoke to me through it!)

The words church and outdoor enclosure really jumped out at me (better them to jump out than an Orangutan!)

The sign is on a doorway at Colchester Zoo and when you go through it you can see the Orangutan’s outdoor enclosure and an education center about Oragutans and their natural habitat. Next to the outdoor enclosure are the ruins of an old church building, All Saints, Stanway.

As I thought about the sign I began to consider how church is often a place where we try to draw people in. The sign reminded me of what I think that God’s priority is, that we should be going out and looking outwards.

You see, the Christian faith is something to be lived rather than just to be hidden away in church buildings.

The church should be an education centre. We exist to show people who God really is and how they can know and follow him but the only way we can do this for everyone is to look outwards.

In the 2011 UK Census, just over 33 million people identified themselves as Christian. That leaves just over 30 million people who are going to need us to get out of our church buildings and to become more honest about our faith in order for them to find out what God is like and how they can know him.

The sad thing is that many Christians believe that church is just for them when the truth is that God loves the whole world and that Jesus died for everyone.

The Oragutans have an amazing outdoor enclosure at Colchester Zoo but in all my visits I have only ever seen one of them out there on one occasion. Is this a picture of what your church is like or are we ready to head out into the real world and to educate people about who God is and how they can know him?

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About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Baptist Minister who is especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century. I am also a member of the Eastern Baptist Association's Council with responsibility for Mission Strategy.
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