i gotta’ tell you, i’m pretty encouraged.
i’ve been in a state of spiritual and philosophical transition for several years now. i really feel like i’m being led of the lord, but doubt has been an almost constant traveling companion. one reason for my doubt is that few of my peers are struggling with the same issues (at least, not in my geographical and denominational spheres. in fact, you should see some of the looks i get!). another reason i doubt the veracity of my thinking is the lack of results. it stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if my “stuff” works then my church would grow?
but i am encouraged today because it seems that some really smart (and successful) people are saying the same things i have been saying (in my little domain). for example, paul wilkinson from thinking out loud wrote:
The history of Christianity is a history of new groups and movements continuing to propel the Christian faith through history…each movement is generally a reaction to what preceded it.
and (quoting j. lee grady)…
Please don’t fight the changes God wants to bring in your life. As you hold on to His unchangeable love, allow Him to push the reset button.
craig groeschel of lifechurch.tv and swerve wrote:
When we started Life Church in 1996, we intentionally desired to be a “relevant” church. For way too long, what happened in church on Sunday seemed way too disconnected to the other 6 days and 23 hours of the week. With sincere intentions, we (and many others) deliberately sought to present God’s eternal truths with daily applications.
A decade and a half later, it is rare to find a church that isn’t making an attempt at a “contemporary” service. While I believe that the shift that occurred in the 80s and 90s was appropriate and in some ways necessary, in my opinion–at many churches–the pendulum has swung too far.
* What used to be edgy is becoming distasteful.
* What used to be cool is becoming cheesy.
* What used to be creative is becoming gimmicky.
While the intentions of most relevant pastors (including my own) are generally to reach those who don’t know Christ, we have to ask ourselves, “How effective are our ministries, really?” Just because we are “growing” numerically doesn’t mean the people coming are growing spiritually.
god is doing a brand new thing (again) and, while i am a little apprehensive about how the church will respond, i can’t wait to see how the church–and society–will benefit.
and god is actually allowing me to be a part!