March 03, 2006

Church IS Failing - Part II

In my previous post I expressed the concern of my wife and I about the worship service we attend. A service that has seen little growth over a year and is not nearly it's former self. Most of the younger crowd is missing. I'd say we met with just about everyone we should meet with, and expressed our concern for not being fulfilled in the worship service we attend. We've talked with the praise band director, the senior pastor, and the director of Foundational Ministries.

Our conclusion is that the church is not changing at the pace it needs to. Each individual we talked to has a different story. I'm not about to point fingers, and there are plenty of other circumstances you could attribute it to, but the cold hard fact is that change was needed more than a year ago - and here we are in the same situation today. It's no secret that the process of change has a greater lifespan within a church than outside of it, even in churches that are nimble. Our pastor, still newly appointed here nearly a year ago, has been extra careful with change. I understand not wanting to come off as dividing rather than a uniting - then again, how long do we continue to fail in face of not rocking the boat? In the life of a church, that can prove to be a while.

The questions that remain: Will as many people who needed the change still be around by the time change occurs? Will we still be there?

In talking with our pastor, he stated that he has implemented change in other churches quite successfully. He reminded us that change takes time. Sure, no problem. In fact, some of those changes took eight years to achieve. …. !?!?
[Insert another record scratch here]

Wow. In an age when technology allows information to flow at light speed and change to follow quickly behind, me thinks that churches need to learn how to change a bit quicker than that. I'm dumbfounded. I'm not suggesting that a change in worship style will take eight years to implement, but I'm not waiting around another one, all the time being unfulfilled in worshiping the Lord!

I will admit this is a localized problem. They're only losing the younger folks; attendance is strong among people in their 40s and higher. So even if a church like ours actually understands what is needed to survive into the future - can they do it fast enough? I'm not filled with hope at this point, and reading Barna's Revolution didn't help either. I'll talk about that next.

Brian Slezak

2 comments:

Ichthus said...

Brian,

I have recently left the ministry over such frustration. Perhaps I am being a bit extreme, but I have left behind a church that has no concern for the Kingdom of God. I am searching now for a new way of being the church that is more authentically Christian. I am asking questions like, do we really need a professional class of clergy? Do we need church polities that resemble corporations or governments? Do we even need church buildings? I feel like God has put a fire in my bones to speak out against current church practices, and to help to create a new kind of church. Actually, it is a very old kind of church -- a First Century kind of church. Of course, my opinions have made me very unpopular, and my bishop has asked me to discontinue my candidacy for the ordained ministry. So what? I answer to God, not to the bishop, so I will gladly shake the dust off my feet and move on.

Anonymous said...

Wow,
Ditto...I am writing a piece for an essay due for my Psychology degree, and this piece I have to do is about social influence and how it affects a person and changes there thinking, actions, etc. I thought it was going to be easy until I desided to write about churches and how they influenced my attitudes and behavior. Without going into a long speel, my family has been burned by the "church buildings", both the buildings and the church itself. My husband has seen the southern babtist side, and we have together seen the penticostal side. So, i decided that this was a learning thing God was doing and I should move with it. We have been in the pesition of starting churches, myself being on the "worship team", (man I hate that term.)I found out that I can play the Djembe, electric drums which was a shock. But I don't have enough time for that what I really want to say is that the church buildings are there for people to meet others, sit with them, go to eat with them, maybe, just maybe, they will keep in touch with you, play good music and be entertained for a while ( and if the service is REAL good, the spirit might move, (yea right), might be there over 2hours. I know that God is doing something very different, and I have fought him a long long time, as a matter of fact, we are not nebraska where we live at this point and have been for the last 5 years, we are from New Mexico. Where I left a mother who is a witch, and a native city that just feeds on the spiritual, but that to is another story. I have learned alot in this past 5 years and the only thing I do know is that I know that there is only one God and that is Jesus, and he loves me, and is very patient with me and he will do with me whatever he wants to whenver he wants.

thanks,
krissy, nebraska