Saturday, 16 January 2010
By Brittany at Faith and Geekery
We often use the start of each year as a time to reflect, set new goals, evaluate and strategize. For many, it’s a clean slate, a chance to start over and to challenge themselves to be someone new. In business, we set new goals, try new tactics and attempt to make the next year more successful.
But what about the church? Are we seeking to reevaluate, to understand where we could improve and learn how to be revitalized so that we may best reach the world around us?
This weekend, I attended Veritas, a revitalization seminar hosted by my church. We spent the day evaluating different stages of the congregational life cycle and what it looks like to be a healthy, growing, missional church. We started discussing our church, with all its strengths and weaknesses, and I began to see our church through the eyes of someone other than myself.
Churches in America get so caught up in their own way of doing things, fighting and focusing on the trivial stuff — the songs, the volume, the projector screens, etc. We get so lost in our internal battles that we forget about the real reason that we gather together and about the message of hope that we have been given to share.
It made me think about the state of church in our nation and the general rebellion against everything that the church stands for. But what if we took the time to evaluate our churches and sought to understand why our generation is so disenchanted with the church?
Mark Stromberg, of the Northwest Covenant Conference, while leading the class said, “We have to remember that inviting a young person to church is like inviting a member of your elder board to go out to a bar and sing karaoke: it’s completely unnatural and out of their element.”
This really struck me. Why is it so unnatural for young people to be in the church? As I thought about all the possible answers, I finally realized that in a world of tolerance and acceptance of whatever life you choose, the church has become the rigid rule maker. The church is viewed no longer as the place to find freedom but is instead often seen as a place to find judgment.
So at the beginning of this new year, let’s take time to evaluate, to consider our mistakes of last year, and to learn from where we fall short. Let’s strategize and create tactics for how we can move forward and create a church — not just a building, but a body of believers that can rise up together in love.
Okay, but how are we going to do that?
I think the answer is through brokenness and honesty. We can often get caught up in the mentality that because we know the truth that we have all the answers, but the truth is that we are still sinners. We are still living lives that could do better at glorifying God. It is with a humble and broken spirit that we may, as the church, offer more to those who are hurting than just a building full of people with different preferences and opinions. Instead, we can walk with those who are hurting and say, “I understand what you’re going through because I’m a sinner too, but through the grace of Jesus Christ I step forward, forgiven and hopeful.”
What are some resolutions we can set for the church in the United States? What are areas we have failed and can improve in?