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Minister’s Blog – 24 August 2022

Join the Conversation with Peter C


Greetings everyone,

Welcome to the new Blog post on our Hillcrest Methodist Church website. The aim of it is to raise some of the issues that concern us as a church and to stimulate thought and prayer about them. I will express some of my opinions and ideas to get the ball rolling but would love to hear what you have to say about these and any other matters that relate to our church. Please submit your comments at the bottom of this page.

I look forward to getting the conversation going.


We have to face facts, this pandemic that stopped us from getting together regularly on Sundays to worship God for over a year, has taken its toll on church attendance. We are down from more or less 200 to about 140 average total attendance for the 7:30am and 9:30am services. The 11:30am Zulu service has an attendance of 12 to 15. Children’s and Youth Church have also taken a big knock. People have got ‘out of the habit’. They stopped going to church and the sky didn’t fall in! There was time to do other things on Sunday mornings. With the hectic pace of life this proved to be a great experience. After all, you could keep in touch via the daily videos and recorded services.

So, why go to church? This is where I could get into my preaching mode and start laying a guilt trip on our absent friends. I’d much rather be positive. As we all know, church is not the building. The word actually means community or fellowship. So church is about people. The building is there to keep us dry in the rain and covered from the burning sun – as well as a special space to meet with God of course. The challenge to us, therefore, is how best to meet the needs of the people in our church family and beyond. I don’t have all the answers, but I think I know some of the questions.

How do we discover the needs of our people, young and old, and how can we meet them? What have we learned about our church members during this period of change? How do we need to adjust our programme and activities to be more relevant and accessible? Are our worship and meeting times the most suited to their needs? Etc, etc.

There are no quick and easy answers to any of these questions. We must give thought and prayer to them. What have we learned about ourselves from the experience of this past 18 months or so? The experience must not go to waste. God will teach and guide us.


‘You can disagree with me about adult or infant baptism, euthanasia, the virgin birth, who’s going to hell, or anything for that matter, but don’t tell me to go to that other service. I don’t like their style!’ Does this sound familiar to you?

Let’s keep it simple. This is mostly about music. Shakespeare said, ‘If music be the food of love, play on’. Sadly, music has often been the food of conflict in the church. When the organ was first introduced there were many who objected violently and called it, ‘the devil’s instrument’. Similarly, when guitars and drums were introduced into worship, there were those who would get up and walk out of the service, even though the Bible speaks of the trumpets, harps, lyres [olden-day guitars], tambourines, flutes and clashing cymbals being used in worship in the sanctuary.

Fortunately, at Hillcrest Methodist, we don’t have many ‘hard-liners’. Most people appreciate that there are different styles and respect those who differ from them. At a deeper level, however, there is a resistance in some to ‘that other way of worshipping’. This can be a hindrance to our unity and, therefore, our common mission.

This is not an easy thing to manage in ourselves because our style of worship is deeply embedded in our spiritual journey. So, I challenge myself and you as well, to be aware when those walls of resistance begin to rise, to talk to God about it and ask that our issue would not be hindrance to the unity for which Jesus prayed.

Peter C


  1. Zuko

    Thanks for this thought provoking reflection Peter. Iam a father if young adults and a teenager, so I am most worried about them. They seem to lack interest in church affairs, though my wife and I are committed Christians. I often wonder, how long do we continue to encourage them to go to church. When will they eventually attend church out of love for Jesus. Do we just continue to patiently plant and water the seeds?

  2. Jenni Bacher

    Well written Peter and I’m sure disheartening for a Minister to see numbers dwindle! I’ll never forget a sermon on “Church”, which answered your question “Why do we go to church?” I wrote this down and each point to me is equally important:
    1. Worship 2. Spiritual growth 3. Fellowship 4. Outreach Next question, can you really have all this without going to church? I don’t think so…..