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As usual, today my social media timelines is peppered with links to blogs and articles about the church and it’s struggles. Stories about “Church and Millenials”, “Church and men”, “Church and growth programs”, “Church and it’s decline”. It’s all quite wearying at times to read.

And then I go to my kid’s school and talk to the staff there. I hear about kids living in poverty, kids living in homes with addiction and abuse. I hear about how the school is powerless to do anything about it due to restrictions on privacy and also it’s their voice against the parents.

I walk through this town and I see so many signs of neglect: children running free at all hours of the day, houses run down to the point where many of them should probably be condemned, loose animals everywhere.

The church and it’s decline… the decline of our neighbourhoods.

Could the two be linked?

As churches become more inwardly focused on just trying to pay the bills, have we lost sight of what it means to follow Jesus and serve those in need around us?

When I read the blogs posts mentioned above, many will ask “What programs do you offer for <name a demographic>?”

Here’s my answer. None!

I really don’t feel programs are the answer. Faithful leadership is the answer. Acting like Jesus expects us to act is the answer. Prayer is the answer.

How about instead of spending an hour a day wondering what sort of programs we should be running, we spent that hour, as church leaders (both paid ministry and laity), we sat down and prayed.

And what if instead of that prayer looking like were asking God to do a whole bunch of stuff, the time was spent with our mouths shut and our ears and hearts open to what God is asking us to do?

That’s how I’ve been spending my days lately. Sure I may miss a few here and there, but I try to sit and listen. I ask a question, and I listen.

Turns out God wants to tell me stuff about myself first. He tells me about the stuff I need to deal with first, then we get on to what I am going to do as He reveals it to me.

Our churches need pastors and leaders who are first being transformed by Him from the inside out first. If we as leaders are hearing God speak to us as we bring our broken lives to him and letting Him transform us, then our churches take notice and they too will be transformed.

Don’t believe me? Ask my church. They see how God is transforming me because I spend quality time listening to Him. And they want to be transformed too.

We don’t need programs.

We need Jesus. He’s the only one who can save your church.

So sit down and listen to what he wants to tell you. It will change your life.