I’ve been reflecting on some things lately.
Actually I reflect on a lot of things, part of being a thinker and a bit of a dreamer I suppose.
But lately I’ve been thinking about the state of our churches. I live in a part of the country where by next summer over half our the United Churches in this area will be without a full-time ordained minister. It’s a bit of a sad time as there will be lots of empty pulpits. In the span of 12 months, from July 1 of this year until June 30 of 2013 we are on track to lose 5 full-time ordained clergy (4 to moving to other calls, one to retirement) and one Designated Lay Minister (to retirement).
Despite living on an island that is annually named to one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, we struggle to find clergy who wish to relocate here.
So, we end up talking about closing churches, amalgamating churches, part-time ministry and so on.
Yes we have a lot of churches. This we cannot deny. Almost all of our churches were built in a time of limited mobility. But now when I have to travel a whole day for a couple hours of meetings 500km away, and not really have to think that hard about it, we do have too many churches.
But do we close them all?
No. We close where it makes sense. We amalgamate where it makes sense.
But, we should explore the future of every church we have.
Here’s what I think is missing from 95% of our churches.
Many of our churches have no vision, no plan for the future. We all sit in maintenance mode, holding onto what we have.
If we have nothing to work towards, we have no reason for our existence.
Jesus calls us to serve, to go out into the nations and baptize. To preach. To help those in need. To love our neighbours.
We’ve lost that vision, that sense of call. And because of it, we’ve lost people.
So I ask you these simple questions that will tell us a lot about our churches. The answers should be right on the tip of your tongue. I’m going to guess that instead, we need to think long and hard to find something that resembles an answer.
Why does your church exist?
Who does it serve?
Who are you?