Go For It

Working out how to be church …


Here at the Madoch Centre we are benefitting from a Go for It grant which is helping us make our dream of ‘using sport as a way of engaging with our community’ a reality. The other night at Circuits we were discussing our newly purchased sporty gear and how, as we are all getting fitter, our wardrobes were turning ‘lycra’. Some of this change is about being comfortable but some of it is about our identity. People who turn up in their trackies we instantly categorise as ‘sporty’, some folk wear ‘Rab’ jackets and ‘Berghaus breeks’ and we recognise them as outdoorsy.

In our new Centre we have been considering how to be ‘church’ and not just a Community or Sports Centre. We feel that we can achieve this through the presence of church folk; but how can we be recognised? Christians don’t have a clothing brand, and they don’t carry around Bibles or crosses.

We have been aware that in a ‘church’ setting we need to be more accountable for our behaviour and we need to be different in how we treat people. However, we also felt we could end up ‘trying’ too hard and that we needed to be ourselves.

Then, during the first week of our new term we were aware that as people became familiar with the Centre they were sharing their troubles – so we reckoned being distinctive was all about sharing people’s burdens – listening and offering practical support.

Guarding words and actions and offering support to those struggling is essential for Christians. However, now we feel that there is more to our Christian identity than that. We can’t always be aware of our actions. We can be at a loss as to how to support people with the massive trials they face and sometimes we are called to not step in. Perhaps, the key to being identifiable as Christ’s followers is to spend time in God’s presence and having Jesus at the very centre of our existence. Our focus needs to be so completely on Him, and not on ourselves, that we can’t but help letting who we are as Christians seep out at the edges.

Despite not being the ‘world’s best Christians’ we are finding that people are identifying something different in what we are offering here – in their words:
Young mum who lost her husband very suddenly “…There are no words to express just how broken hearted I feel right now and it’s really lovely to be able to come to such a friendly place where I feel totally at home. Wouldn’t be able to say it to your face without crying so thought I would send you a message instead.”

Friend who would avoid church in pre-Centre days texted to say: “You did mega well with Centre. It’s awesome to wander into. All very cheery and friendly.”

Person attending fitness classes: “For me, the Madoch Centre has been amazing, in particular the sports coach… She’s passionate about sport but more importantly she cares about my well-being. The Madoch Centre is not just a building but a community and I am very blessed that I have it right on my door step.”


Anthea Bircham
St Madoes and Kinfauns Church

About St Madoes and Kinfauns Church

St Madoes and Kinfauns Church in Perth received a Go For It Main Grant for their Madoch Centre Active Sports Hub project; providing sport programmes to reach out to all ages (particularly men and boys with little or no church connection), in a rural area with a lack of amenities.

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