Battleship Crew

The Church Times of London often carries stories of “church planting”–the establishing of new congregations, often in existing churches whose congregations have dwindled.

Critics of these efforts say they merely draw people from other congregations who like the enthusiastic style of worship. One planter, the Rev. Dr. Tim Matthew responded: “I’ve always tried to maintain a very high bar on existing Christians joining. We say here that we’re a battleship not a cruise ship–we don’t take passengers–so it you’re on view, you’re on the crew, and there’s a job for you to do.”

Now Dr. Matthew would probably admit seekers who weren’t church members as “passengers” on the ship of the Church because these folks need time to figure out what it means to be a committed Christian. But I think the image is appropriate for long-time parishioners. They shouldn’t just see themselves as along for the ride, looking to get spiritual comforts without giving anything back. The parish isn’t a cruise ship, it’s a battleship–fighting the good fight for Christ. —J. Douglas Ousley

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