Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rethinking Church

Looking through the articles on my Google reader today, I was struck by something! Every time I saw an article with a title, such as “Re-thinking Church” or “Becoming a Missional Church” or “Emergent Church,” I marked it read and moved on. Granted the last few weeks have been crazy busy for me and I’ve not had as much time for reading articles. But the truth is that my eyes are now glazing over when I see a title that indicates the article is going to say that there is something wrong with the way we do church today (and its unrelated to styles of worship!) and things need to change!

Why are my eyes glazing over? Well, it isn’t because I think the church does not need to change. This is not the 50s! We do get our information in new and amazing ways. We do expect variety. We are tired of hearing people talk about Jesus loving the world while sitting and doing nothing. Attendance and church membership are declining across the board in the US while growing in great numbers in other parts of the world!

And, of course, we aren’t the only game in town! Mayberry apparently only had one church and one diner and everyone went there. I bet if we visited Mayberry today, we’d find Nita’s Diner closed while the Golden Arches gleamed over the old site. We’d probably find Andy and Barney at Red Lobster and Applebee’s on Sr. Night or at Hardees on Saturday morning. And that one mainline church has a membership of 15 or so while down the road a huge non-denominational church with all the bells and whistles is building a food court next to its children’s playground and the Jewish Community Center has moved into Floyd’s old barber shop and I hear tell that there is a New Age group meeting near the old courthouse! And all the while, more and more people are claiming to be spiritual and less and less people are going to church.

So, of course, the church has got to change!

But is it? Or are we just talking about it?

I think I’m tired of talking and reading about it! The problem is that most of the successful models of re-thinking church are more suitable for New York, California or even Huntsville than Grant! How does a small to medium size church in a small town, rural environment re-think church? Are there models for that?

I realize small rural towns and medium size churches are quickly becoming a thing of
the past, but how do we participate in this reformation or emergence or whatever it is you want to call it?

Just a few thoughts and questions, before I head off to a day of meetings!


Hillary @ The Dunham Diaries said...

I wish I had the answer to those questions. I just need to add that we have to leave Mayberry alone- at least in my mind, ok? There's a reason we love it just like it is.
And I think there might be a reason out there that a lot of people still love church just like it is. But I agree with you that something has to change- even if it's just the attitude of the congregation into accepting new folks. :)

Amelia said...

I like your modern version of Mayberry! I mean, it is really easy to visualize!