Why church is dying…and needs to

No news to anyone.  Church attendance is down. Biblical literacy is low.  The church is slowly dying in America, as it has in Europe and England.  But it needs to die.  Let me explain.

This past weekend was simply extraordinary. The Gathering of Men I taught over the weekend was amazing (see my last blog).  But what capped it off was what happened at church on Sunday.  I have waited 25 years to hear a sermon like I did.  25 long, long years.

The new pastor, Scott Sauls, spoke about how God loves inappropriate people.  He did a masterful job of examining how Jesus inteacted with a prostitute and how God  loves the unlovely.  He then made a rather obvious point.  If a church is going to be Christlike, it’s got to move in the same way.

Then he preceded to dismantle so much of of what we experience as church: the religiousity, the stuffiness, the masks, the ridiculous legalism, the suffocating social cues. I was so stunned at what I was hearing that I got chills.  Finally, somebody was saying that the emperor has no clothes on.  Finally somebody was pointing out the obvious.   What we define socially as the church often has little to do with Jesus.  And it blocks so many from considering Jesus.

This is the church that needs to die.  For unless it is dismantled by the courage of pastors, it will die anyway.  The cultural pluralism, the religious drift, the alternative lifestyles all sound multiple death knells for the church as we know it.  It won’t survive into the next generation except as a cultural relic of a forgotten era.  But here is the surprise.  The death of our present experience of church can be the rebirth of a church that reflects Jesus much clearer.

Jesus said that when he is lifted up that he will draw all men to himself.  When we really are Christlike, that’s also what will happen.  The prostitutes and misfits and alcoholics and workoholics and homosexuals and bisexuals and druggies and divorced and depressed–all will be drawn to the church.  That’s the cue that we are being like Jesus.  I for one am ready.  I think many others are too.

If you heard the sermon on Sunday, what did you think?  If you didn’t, here’s the link: http://www.christpres.org/sermons/sermons/  I would love to hear your thoughts.

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About Coach D

I have been a teacher and a coach for many years. My real name is Bill Delvaux, but my students call me Coach D, hence the user name. This blog is about the journey into the unknown I am walking and the landmarks I am navigating along the way. The destination: becoming who I really am as a man. I invite you to join me by reading along every Monday and Thursday.
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6 Responses to Why church is dying…and needs to

  1. Jessie Rucker says:

    Amen to this! How many women I minister to that love Jesus but hate to go to church! One woman went through a painful divorce after many years of being abused, and no one from her church reached out to her. She was active in her church for 10 yrs, and the pastor nor any leader nor church member checked on her! How sad is that! I tell people who think they hate Christianity that if they knew Jesus they would love Him. It’s the religion they hate, and Jesus hated it,too.

    • Coach D says:

      Jessie,
      I have heard this story so many times. I am so sorry for the women you have ministered to. If there is going to be any offense, let it be Jesus himself.

  2. Craig & Patricia Ummel says:

    I too sat in awe of what Scott was saying on Sunday. I long to know a church that would even resemble the one that he was talking about. But change is so very hard!!! May the Lord HELP us to willing to walk the path to true honesty with ourselves and others. Pat

    • Coach D says:

      Change is hard, Pat. I like to think that becoming like Jesus is the most dramatic change anyone can go through. Yet it is the pain that hurts so good. Becoming a church that exhibits more of his beauty and strength is scary and yet exhilarating to think about.

  3. Jeff says:

    This is an awesome message. If we could all minister to “misfits” we would be reaching toward each other in our own levels of brokenness. When we realize that we’re ALL in the ‘margin’ then it’s no longer the margin, and we can begin to heal together.

    • Coach D says:

      Jeff,
      This is so true. The reason we put others in the margin is so that we don’t have to face the painful or shameful truths about ourselves. We categorize and label to dismiss or to criticize. But Jesus took each person as having both intrinsic value and a tragic story. We need to do both to begin to love others well.

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