In all probability you are contributing to the demise of your dying church and scarcely realize your part. You called yet another Savior-Pastor, only to discover he/she cannot overcome the errors of the last three decades if you continue to insist on the same behaviors. So, he/she will need to go and you will need to get another one.
If the elimination of yet another Savior-Pastor would correct the problems, you would be eating "bubble-up" stew by now.
We have, instead, the shampoo church; lather, rinse, repeat.
I can easily make an argument for the Church. The Church is the Bride of Christ, selected by the Christ Himself, made pure and presented by Himself to Himself as His sacred love. This is the ideal Church, the representative Kingdom of God, the one we fell in love with at the moment of Christ's calling to us.
The Church can be the Church again. In point of fact, the Church never ceased to be the Church, for God is a people-calling, people-loving, people-having God. As long as God interacts with humanity in a saving call, the Church will be the Church, even if the church fails to be the Church in some locales.
Yes, the Church repeats certain behaviors. Worship is repetitive, at times, interminable it seems. The life of the Church can be a liturgical cycle of worship, work and witness, but the repetitive behaviors, even if they seem peculiar, are richer and deeper ground for having been plowed before.
The church is an inhumane employer but the Church is the local representation of the Kingdom of God. The church mimics worldly human organizations while the Church approximates the heavenlies. The church performs badly, the Church behaves superbly.
So, it is, as we move on in our series from Pastor to Church, we define our terms thusly:
The church is something less than God intends.
The Church is exactly what God wants.
In proceeding, we will try to synchronize the failing church with the victorious Church, particularly in light of the Church and its ministers who work from a vocare, a sacred calling.
- Put your head down, so you can see the ground you plow and do not scan the horizon for the forming clouds. When the rain comes at least make sure the ground is ready.
- Shut your mouth. Solitude is wonderful but mostly impossible. The solitude of silence allows God to speak to you in the loudest crowd. The only voice over whose screaming God cannot speak to you is your own.
- Do your job. You do know your job, don't you? Alright then, do it. If not, just keep reading here and reflecting. My commenters and I will show you the high road.
- Do not, under any circumstances, become one of those who acquires courage by means of distance from the foe.