I was strolling along on my prayer walk today thinking about some things that have been on my mind the past few days. Part of that process included thinking about the declining Church. Each year it seems that the average age increases and the attendance numbers decrease. It does not take a genius to figure out what will happen if something does not turn around. The Church will die.
The question really is not whether or not the Church is dying. The question that has to be answered is…what are we, as Church leaders, going to do to change the tide?
Many times, when you ask that question, you get all kinds of answers but the answers rarely center around changing how we worship. And…if the answer does center on that…it is often lip-service and empty statements.
Here are a few interesting thoughts I had as I thought about this:
- What if Apple decided to stick with the same old thing rather than creating a new iculture with the ipod, ipad, iphone…and who knows what else? They probably would have died. Aren’t many of our churches doing the same thing?
- How many radio stations can you think of that play 18th century hymns? None? Maybe that is because that is not really a popular genre of music. But we sure do use it in a lot of churches…and at the same time…we wonder why 20-somethings and teenagers don’t come to church.
- I remember watching football w/ mom one time. She would ask what happened and I would tell her about the team getting a first down but it was negated by an illegal formation because the slot receiver covered the tight end. Out of a blank stare…she says, “What is a first down?” She did not know…she shouldn’t have known because she was not a football fan. We use a lot of big words in church like justified, sanctified, omniscience, and presuppositionalism (okay…maybe not that one). How do you think an outsider feels when they hear that?
- Melissa is an amazing cook. I am surprised I am not fat…yet. But, occasionally something will happen and a side item will not turn out too well. We can get past that because the main course is still great! Once in a blue moon (if that) something will happen and the main course does not turn out. We will eat the sides but it really doesn’t fill us up because we missed the main course. Too many churches get wrapped up in the side dishes and fail to focus on the main thing. The main thing is neglected for the sides and when it is all said and done we are not able to set a quality main course in front of them…and the leave feeling less than full.
The Church must learn to reinvent itself, and in so doing, focus on the main thing (Transforming the world by making disciples of Jesus Christ…in case your church forgot).
This means our worship will look different. Don’t get me wrong…there is a need for traditional worship and service that include 18th century hymns. I love many of those. But…I am not trying to reach me. I am trying to reach those people who don’t go to church, don’t know 18th century hymns, don’t know the theological jargon of the Church, and are hungering for a main course that fills them up.
In 15-20 years from now…I want to look back and know that I was a part of something that changed the world. Don’t you?