I have heard much discussion lately about the decline of the Christian Church. I know that in the end times the church will see decline. But that’s no excuse for not being the best that we can be all the time. How can the church do a better job of being the church?
Obviously we need to focus on being Followers of Jesus and in making other Followers as well. But how do we do that on a practical level? Here are some thoughts:
Impressions – The folks “out there” generally don’t have a good impression of us “inside” the church. How can we improve their impressions? I think we need to be “out there.” Most churches focus on making a good impression to visitors. That’s important, but it doesn’t bring in visitors. We need to be out among the folks, impressing them with the Jesus we love. We can’t do that by improving the look of our building. We have to work on the walk of our people.
Intergenerational – We are a multi-generational church. I am frankly tired of hearing about bringing in young people. Our world is getting older not younger. Folks are living longer. The church can’t focus on one generation, especially not the young. The world is full of folks of all ages and they all need Jesus and they all need to work with each other. We don’t need a younger church, we need a church that faces the fact that our mission should be to all ages. If you focus on the young, you lose sight of the wonderful asset you have in all folks.
Discipleship – We need to figure out how best to help people be more like Jesus. This is obviously the goal of every church, but it doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t happen by sharing funny stories or worrying about politics. It happens with more contact with each other, honest, vulnerable contact. We need to share our struggles if we are ever to grow.
Stewardship – Stewardship isn’t about bigger offerings. It’s about recognizing that we have resources, human, physical and spiritual and putting them to good use. We tell folks that happiness is in being thankful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. We need to apply that advice to our churches.
Prayer – Every church could use more prayer. Not just the here’s-whose-sick type of prayer, but the shut up and listen to God type. He already knows whose sick and whose hurting. We need to know what He wants us to know.
Missions/Community Investment – The best churches I was ever a part of had no building. Money that came in went right back out. Maybe that’s not always practical, but there is a lesson here. No new testament church comes with a description of its facilities. Too much “church” energy is taken up in maintaining the staff and facilities and not enough in doing the mission. Want a better church? Look out not in. Where your treasure is… you know the rest.
Before I fall off my soap box, I’ll shut up.
Have a nice day.