Do people just make excuses to not go to church, or does the church need to consider change as an option? If we are going to reach people that have never been reached we must be willing to do things we have never done!
I recently dialogued with a woman from another church near Bonney Lake. She had faithfully served for dozens of years and was very proud of her accomplishments. She asked what I attributed the growth of Open Life to and I expressed that many of the people who had begun to attend had come from a place of not being able to find a church that truly represented the heart of Jesus in scripture.
I further explained…they found great churches, but struggled to find a growing connection with Jesus. So many have given up on church as the way to Jesus. They think church is just a bunch of politicking, and more about themselves vs. truly being interested in sharing the gospel in a messy world. Where is the justice for the unjust in our world…are they living the gospel outside the church or is that just a great plaque above the door as churches claim to be “the church exiting the building.
She then replied in a way that has had me thinking, “people will always say that about the church. They are just looking for an excuse to leave.”
So I have been wondering, is that really true? Is there really 80,000 people out of the 91,000 in our region who have chosen to make excuses to leave church, or has the message and reality of Jesus just not been made real yet? Personally I think what she said is an excuse for the church not to change in order to be more present in the lives of those who need Jesus.
The church gets super comfortable doing what they do and when someone no longer sees Jesus in what they do, they blame the people vs. stepping back and asking the hard questions about what they are doing. Is Jesus asking them to do what they do, or are they doing what they do out of habit, history and tradition?
If people are deciding to give up on the church, if they are not finding Jesus in what we do, we need to make deep changes. My suggestion is we go to the scriptures and ask ourselves what the church would look like today if Jesus were to tell us how to do it all over again.
Would it look the same as we are doing it? Have we really heard from Jesus in our design or are we doing what is familiar?
What we do know…thousands do not have a growing relationship with Jesus and we can make a difference in their lives. We have the message…that is the most important thing, the method must be flexible.