Wednesday, January 19, 2011


'I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.'-Paul (The Message)

'I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'
-Jesus of Nazareth

What would you say if I told you that many churches are 'too efficient'? Allow me to explain...when you think of your church-whether it's your home church, the one you currently attend, or have been attending off and on and consider it your place of worship, do you remember why it's 'your church'? What drew you in? Was it because you had no choice-you were born into and raised in this church or were you at one time a 'seeker' of a church family?

As you think about that...lets fast forward to today. When you think about today, what do you think 'seekers' see and or hear about your church now? As you look around at worship do you see a lot of young people 18-34 years of age? If not, it's cause for concern. Why? Because that age range is supposed to be trained up to become the next leaders in God's church.

I recently attended a 'RETHINK Church' workshop and I can honestly say that many of the things that was presented wasn't new to me, however, it was new to a great deal of those who attended. You see, it's a message that many of us youth pastors and young pastors have been trying to share wtih God's churches all across this great nation. The reason for so many generational gaps and slow progress is simple really...too many assumptions on the part of current leadership within the church and not enough open and honest dialog.
Communication is key in any family and in any relationship, yet that is usually the one major barrior which prevents change and real growth.

I'll give you a couple good examples-one that isn't mine...but I feel it is a good snapshot of how so many churches view outreach opportunities. Like most churches, we have an annual Turkey Dinner. This Turkey Dinner takes months to plan and many people are involved. It is open to the community and all are welcome.
While the church sees it as an opportunity for people in the community to enter the church, to enjoy some great food and par-take in the isn't true outreach. Why? Because what seekers see and hear is that it isn't free-it's just another fundraiser.
Now, that's not to minimize the Turkey Dinner...because great things do come of it, but it usually entails the same folks inviting the same friends, sitting with the same friends, and not much else. Food is a great way to entice folks to come visit, but it isn't necessarily the best way to retain them for much longer than just an annual meal/event.

The second one is about the Angel Tree. This year we had such an outpouring of support that all the names on the tree were taken and only donation cards remained. Each person was to drop off their present(s) at the church office by a certain deadline (the office was overflowing with gifts). Then the church secretary would orgainize the gifts for children by school. She would later call the 'usual suspects' to help her-usually two or three people and they would load up the gifts in their vehicle and then deliever them to the schools.
If you don't know what the Angel Tree is please click the link.

Again, not to minimize the good that was done for the community-specifically the children who otherwise wouldn't have gotten any presents for Christmas, but this 'well oiled machine' minimzed it's own impact. There was a thank you in the newsletter and in the bulletin, but that was about it.

Which gets me back to the beginning of my post. Do you remember what got you 'hooked' on the church you're at? Was it because of the many great things they offered to you and the rest of the community? The thing I would like to point out is that many of the things the church was known for then might not be the things they're known for now. You may know the deep history and traditions, but there are those who don't. There are many who sit in worship now that can't articulate or even share what the church is about now-what they're doing in the community.

The challenge is to ReThink Church and to share your experiences with others. It isn't enough to invite someone to church anymore-many seek something more than just worship on Sunday, they wish to be deployed and join a cause. What better 'CAUSE' than the one of Jesus Christ?

Enjoy the video below...I enjoyed it and I think it fits for all denominations-it should be how all of God's churches are-invitational, welcoming, and empowering.

1 comment:

pitcher12k said...

A friend of mine said, after hearing about it from me, "But what is this going to do? Anyone can complain and say things, but until anything is actually done, what is the point?"
(roughly translated)
He agrees with you, but I think he brings up a good point. When do we move from words to actions?