I (Ryan) grew up in church. Well, everyone did in the Republic of Texas. As a young adult, I continued this exercise working at local churches.
Church has just been something deeply embedded in the fabric of my being from birth. Yet, I’ve always struggled with church on a number of levels. Whether it was not being able to sit still as a child, falling asleep as a teenager, and/or being completely bored out of my mind at all ages, I’ve often wondered about this “box” called “church.”
Don’t get me wrong…
I see the value of the institutional church. As a pastor, I’ve been involved in countless programs and gatherings and mission trips, etc. that have impacted countless people. I know people have a beef with the harsh, religious aspects of the institutional church, and we all have heard stories of the damage that has been done under the banner of God. Yet, in all of its complexities, twists, turns and interesting disciplines throughout the centuries, the church has been an active force of tremendous influence across the globe.
Today, in it’s western decline, the church has been in dire need of loud wake-up calls! The pews continue to thin, and the larger mega-church stadiums are simply transfer growth stats. When you actually look at where the western church is today compared to where it was many moons ago, people just aren’t that interested anymore. Whether that’s due to the information age, technology, irrelevance, hypocrisy, or a host of other reasons that have been entertained in other circles, the masses aren’t walking through the church doors.
As the saying goes, they are literally rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Church leaders have exhausted themselves trying to figure out how to manufacture that “magic pill” that will bring people back to church!
But what if they don’t come back, and “they” (whomever “they” are) find other things in their weekly rhythm that bring them joy, hope, peace and goodness?
And what if, over time, church leaders wake up to the reality that paradigm shifts are actually real; new movements are being birthed, and there is still a way to move forward?
Yes! The masses are still highly spiritual, indeed! There’s an itch. “Church,” the way it’s been presented to the masses may not be the “answer,” and I realize this is a tough pill to swallow. However, human beings are on the hunt, continually looking for wonder and awe, adventure and zest!
Maybe it’s time to redefine church yet again…
Before we do that, let me ask the following questions:
What is church?
Where is church?
Who is church?
When is church?
How is church?
Why is church?
I’ll be back… (To Be Continued)