One Nation, Under….?

A lot of my time in discussion with other pastors centers on the state of the Church in America.  Or more particularly, our particular congregations.  How do we get more people there?  How do we reach out?  Why aren’t people coming to church?

Most of the time the conversation fixates on what we do.  What kind of music and worship styles should we employ?  What outreach or evangelism strategies are the best?  I guess we have to talk about these things.  How do you talk about massive cultural change?  What are your planning strategies for increasing numbers of people who just don’t see church as necessary or relevant, even if they consider themselves to be Christian?  But the battle lines are a lot deeper than many people want to admit or are able to cope with.

Yet this is what we have to prepare ourselves for.  More accurately, it’s what we currently have to live with.  We tend to think of this in gloomy terms, as it directly challenges the health and viability of many congregations.  But in larger, historical terms, it’s nothing new.  In fact, things today are a lot like things were for the early Church, in terms of a dominant non-Christian or anti-Christian culture.

There remains an opportunity to demonstrate to the larger culture the wisdom, the Truth, and the blessing of living our lives as Christians regardless of what the laws of our country change or restrict in terms of worship places and spaces.  As our culture increasingly embraces a variety of forms of death, Christians have the opportunity to affirm and live out the life of Christ within us.  We shouldn’t be afraid, despite the fact that our traditional ways of being the Church may not be as readily available to us.  It should help us focus on what really matters.  It doesn’t change our fundamental calling each day in Christ – to love God and to love my neighbors.

 

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