I have attended church and worked/led in churches for over 30 years now. In March of 2021 that all changed. I have not attended anywhere regularly since then, for over a year… shocking to consider but true.
Typical church leadership drama played out at my most recent position but that wasn’t the issue. My recognition of reality is what hit me.
The churches that I see are fully committed to their building, their programs and their existing group of attendees. They expect the rest of world, community to fit into their way. This is fundamentally and perhaps irreparably broken.
Covid exposed the reality viscerally. Most of them are already dead and just waiting for the current member to physically pass on. In Covid, Churches retreated from fellowship and faith into consumerism watch on TV telechurch. They embraced the concept that watching a sermon and writing a check was enough. Sunday schools in most shut down. Fellowship Meals disappeared. Choirs stopped rehearsing. Funerals and wedding were not allowed because government said so. Catastrophic does not even begin to cover it.
Reality check. This model was already entrenched in minds of nearly all. Covid devotion must accelerated and exposed the death curve. Bold leaders and faith communities were judged and cancelled. It happened and it is done. It is finished.
So now what?
A church at its core must exist as a fellowship of believers choosing to serve together. Sermons, education, choirs, and the myriad of programs are important but secondary to the people. A church can exist and worship without almost all of those. Think : where 2-3 are gathered… The programs are derived FROM the fellowship, not to the fellowship.
I’m actively looking for a community like this. Alive and committed to one another above all. But that commitment must balance to some unbalanced number in service to be true to great commission. Maybe 70/30 external/internal. Maybe even 90/10. Every fellowship community must decide for themselves what their devotional notion is.
When the balance tips to managing and maintain the internal above the capability to serve outwardly, the church is officially dying.
That 2 or 3 number is conceptually more of a maximum for me rather than a minimum. Smaller numbers of believers gathering and loving and serving are the foundation.
I don’t honestly know if God will provide me this fellowship regularly as I’ve conceived of it in the past. I long for a place to devote my musical skills to encouragement and service. We shall see.
If you read this, Contact me. Is your church dead or dying. I’d like to put them on my prayer list and you as well. I’m sure God has answers and I don’t. The obstacle we face are our way forward. #1 obstacle I see is authentically LOVING one another. We don’t love a place or a class. We love one another and we then must put that love into practice with bold passion and resolute discipline. Love ya. Jeff
Intersection of principles and practices...