Post-exilic Prophets and the Church Today – Covenant

In the Church today, the instruction I keep hearing is simply to keep moving forward. Do not despise the day of small things. The day of small things is to visit someone in a hospital, to teach a Bible study, or to celebrate the Holy Eucharist — about which a dear friend used to say, it’s never a bad time tohave Communion with Christ. I’m not suggesting the church be like Candide, pretending that misfortune is beneficial or enjoyable. As Christians we have to walk by faith because there is no other alternative. In doing this, we have to draw on the old patterns of fidelity that will fill out the life of the Church in this new social and cultural context. To paraphrase Meyers and Meyers, if this seems revolutionary, it is because there is no turning back. While we don’t get to see what is around the next bend of the Church’s history, perhaps this is because it is not necessary information for us to do the work that is before us.
— Read on livingchurch.org/covenant/2019/03/14/post-exilic-prophets-and-the-church-today/

This article offers a very helpful biblical analysis of the current situation for mainline Christianity in North America.

America Is Not the Future of the Church (Reblog)

“Statistics show that church actually isn’t dying. But it is changing.”
Another great article from Relevant Magazine. Worth a read.
A few good lines –
“[T]he church in the U.S. is indeed changing and indeed losing some of its unchallenged dominance over the culture … and I actually think that might be a good thing. My hope is that it will remind Christians that “success” isn’t measured by money or power or numbers, but rather by the fruit of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Where those characteristics are present, the church lives.” – Rachel Held Evans
“Christianity has had a series of revolutions, and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” – G.K. Chesterton

Pastor’s office hours: Time to cut back? (reblog)

Thank you all once again for reading, reflecting, and commenting. I’m surprised and honored that an article I wrote for this blog over two years ago is receiving renewed attention. I’m glad to be on the journey with all of you.

In the same vein as A Growing Church is a Dying Church, I’d like to share this article by Joseph Yoo on Ministry Matters. It’s yet another useful tool for pastors and churches as we try our best to follow Jesus:

Pastor’s office hours: Time to cut back?

In a recent sermon, Pastor Andy Stanley stated that every church has a gravitational pull to be a church that serves only its members — a pull to be a church for just insiders. That’s because 100 percent of the complaints, suggestions, critiques, and comments come from people who are already there — already attending the church. The leadership team feels pressure to bend towards a lot of those complaints and suggestions and in turn they become more inwardly focused than outwardly focused. So the church becomes more and more friendly to the “insiders” because we put a lot of effort into meeting the needs of the “insiders.” It’s easy to ignore the “outsiders” — those we’re trying to reach — because they have no voice within the walls of the church. And they have no voice, no suggestions, and no complaints because they aren’t present.

Click here to read the rest of the article