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My Blog

Four Truths Every Church Must Face

I was working with a congregation recently and as I interacted with their leadership the following things became clear to me. Each was based on the hesitations I sensed from many in the group. As I encouraged them to do certain things in the renewal process members of the team would show facial signs of stress or make comments pushing back on the work. They were anxious about what needed to be done. They really wished they wouldn’t have to do it.

But the following four things are not just things they resisted. I have sensed various levels of resistance to these things or outright blind spots about them in many settings.

So here are four simple truths about your congregation’s future. They are 100% true in every setting, no matter how big or small you are now, and no matter hoe fragile or strong you may believe your congregation currently is.

Four Things about your future:

  • The future of your church depends on your willingness to be neighbor
  • You can only do evangelism with people who aren’t Christian (yes, some of these may already come to church!)
  • The future of your church depends on people you haven’t yet met
  • You will only meet those (future) people if you are willing to meet them

Over the next four weeks I will devote a post to each one of these in more detail and help you think through what it means to buy in to each one and begin to deal with it if you haven’t already. The goal? No congregation can ignore any of these and remain faithful or even viable long term. But engaging these things are always part of being vibrant and healthy for better being part of God’s amazing mission.

Dave Daubert 11/15/2017 5 Comments
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Jim Killough

Twice you use the phrase "the future of your church." Am I correct that by "church" you mean congregation? Church and congregation are not synonymous, and I fear ignoring the differences greatly confuses the issue. I have no idea if what we call congregations will exist in the future. I do believe the Church, in its broadest sense, will continue into the future. I think the issues you are raising might help us imagine what the church might look like in the future, with or without congregations.

admin 11/20/2017

Jim. Great to hear from you. You are correct that church and congregation are not synonymous. For the most part, I am using the word to refer to congregations here. But most people refer to "their church" when they speak and are referring to their congregation first and the wider church only secondarily. I use it here to refer to both the local and the broader church with some intentional effort, though. The ELCA, which I track most closely, lost 43,000 worshippers per week last year. Those people stopped attended local congregations but their cumulative impact was felt in the church as a whole. So, our ability to be church in the bigger, wider sense that you refer to, will be entirely dependent on the ability of congregations to do this (or not). So, the future of the church relies on these four things happening regularly in the lives of people in congregations all across the land. Thanks for the comment - have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Bob beaver

Dave, The first truth is the most important and the least understood.

admin 11/20/2017

Bob, I agree. It is first for a reason. Hope you are well and thanks for the comment.

Rev Clifford Louis Bischoff

Very Good!