They say that Apple Innovator and Pixar founder Steve Jobs would only become more emboldened when people told him that something couldn’t be done. This excuse is very common in churches and in church leadership today. I’ve mentioned it before and I will mention it again but churches are dying at an unprecedented rate. Why are people leaving the church? Could it be that church is no longer meeting the needs of people they serve?
I understand that church is what you make of it, but there is also a mentality within denominations and within leadership of these denominations that needs to change. This mentality is this: ‘We can’t do that‘. Why? What happened to the early church when they had nothing to lose but to be faithful to God and display His love to all they met? They grew! What has happened to the Church today? We’ve settled. We’ve stopped risking. We’ve resorted to excuses like “We can’t do that” or “we’ve never done it that way before”.
Our churches have played it safe for far too long! It is understood that no one likes to change but what are we risking if we don’t modernize and if we don’t adapt and change? We risk a slow agonizing death in the pews. Time and time again we’ve heard the same spiel from leadership…our stats are down, it’s your fault, it’s your job to get those stats up. I agree we need to increase our church attendances and our biblical instructional programs for adults and youth…but what if it’s not necessarily that our stats are down but rather the programs that we’re employing that are to blame? Many churches have specific mandated programs that the local chapters are required to do. But no one is asking the right question. So let me risk something here and ask it anyway.
Are the programs we are required to do still relevant or are they the same tired revamped programs we’ve been doing for nearly eighty years?
These programs get dressed up from time to time but it’s the same thing…the cover or design may have changed but IT’S THE SAME OLD TIRED THING!
Don’t get me wrong I’m not railing against doing what we’re told and especially not about ministering to adults and youth, these are vital to our survival. What I am saying is that if we want to see statistical and numerical growth in our churches then we ought to have the flexibility to try new innovative ministries without being labeled ‘the rebels’ or called obstinate. If we are truly interested in getting people saved and into our churches then we have got to stop focusing so much on indicators and start focusing on the people and their needs and the needs of their families. When we can serve the needs of the families in our communities and connected with them with relevant programs and ministries then we will have succeeded in both the cause and the indicator.
If we are to finally crest that hill of “we can’t do that” and see the other side of “we can do that” we have to take risks on the journey up the hill. It won’t be easy, it never is. But if we continue only to look at the indicators to guide us instead of tackling the causes; and if we keep using the same antiquated recycled program ideas we will not stave off the terminal prognosis for our churches. I don’t know about you but I would rather risk much, fail often, face criticism from leadership than watch the continued dwindling of church goers to the point where we simply die and fade away. I would rather not be responsible for the continued death of the church. I don’t want this to happen on my watch. Better yet I won’t let it happen on my watch!!!
We cannot settle any longer. We cannot do ‘programs’ simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done. It is simply not working. If we are to find life again, stop transposing blue prints from other churches. Discover the needs of your own community. Explore the demographics. Do the research and get to know your community…then pray. Pray for the right leaders, the right ministries, and the right opportunities. God will provide us what we need if we are serving Him and loving His people! Then get to work and stop worrying what the nay sayers are telling you!
If we are to serve and love the generations in our communities and save our church it’s time to reconsider how we minister and serve them!
-Just a thought.