Good morning Father, Son and Spirit,

I give you my day, in every way,

Whether at work or play,

 All I will do or say,

Lead and direct I pray.

I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2012 and church planting was the focus of my Master of Divinity.  I saw a blog from someone who went to seminary in the seventies.  He stated, I don’t recall the language of church growth and church planting figuring prominently, if at all, in the conversations we had, and we certainly weren’t talking about “the decline of the mainline church” or “the end of the Protestant Reformation.” My classmates were a conscientious lot and, in truth, I suppose we worried more about doing a good and faithful job than about the longevity of our congregations.

That isn’t the case any longer. Most congregations, regardless of their size all seem to be and need to be asking themselves questions about the future. But the most important question is, “Do you want your church?”

The answer to that question will probably depend upon what you think “your church” is.

For far too many, the answer is often that it is a place that my needs, and/or the needs of our family are met. It’s not uncommon for people to say that they have chosen a church because it had a program for their children or that the church had an outstanding worship service, that the time of the services fit with their lives, or that they liked the preaching. To put it bluntly, some people treat the church as an end-user of a product and, to be fair, most in the church often “advertise” their church in conversations with friends and to perspective new members as if that’s exactly what it is and that is the reason they need to attend.

But a better way of defining “church,” apart from the all important definition of it as “the body of Christ,” is to ask ourselves, “Where can I be available for the work of Christ in the world?”  Because, in the final analysis, it’s not all about us, about meeting our needs, or about meeting the needs of our families; The church is a living extension of the incarnation and is meant to be a living, breathing embodiment of Christ’s love in the world that draws and embraces a broken world.

As an end user, the answer to the question, “Do you want your church?”  is always conditional and it can be answered by asking the question, “What is it doing for me now?” Or your answer may change in a conversation as a friend “advertises” what a new or another church has to offer you that sounds like it can better meet your needs.  For the Christians who have sought out a community were they can be the living, breathing embodiment of Christ’s love in the world, the answer is never conditional, but always “yes.”

My friends, I pray today in the Holy Spirit you will seek to answer the question, “Do you want your church?”  That’s not a question I, your priest, pastor, minister, spouse or parents can answer for you. However, the future of your church depends upon it.  The embodiment of Christ’s church into the world depends on it.  Please pray the same for me.  God bless you my friends!

Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower

One Direction Community

 

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