A Note from Pastor David
Resetting the Church
Several years ago we were having trouble with our laptop. As a last ditch effort the help line instructed us to go back and reset our computer to the original factory settings. We lost some things in the switch, but our computer became effective again. I heard a church consultant suggest that the current pandemic might be a good opportunity for churches to reset back to the original settings. Certainly the American church is struggling like my old computer- 85% of American churches are stalled or declining, almost 100 churches are closed for good every week, and 65% of Americans in most every city are not currently interested in attending a church (2018 survey).
Where would we find the original factory settings for the church? I’d look in the book of Acts and at accounts of the church in the first and second centuries. The church grew rapidly without buildings or organized programs. They met in homes. They took the message to the people in the market place and community centers (including synagogues which functioned as Jewish community centers). They lived a counter cultural lifestyle in tight community while focusing on equality of everyone and unselfish sacrifice for those in need. They depended upon the Holy Spirit for power.
Actually the Methodist movement under John Wesley featured similar characteristics. They met in small home groups and had larger meetings in warehouses and meeting halls. They went out to the people. Wesley preached in open fields and his followers went to minister in factories and prisons. And Methodism grew.
These characteristic features worked in first century Greece and Turkey as well as in 19th century England. They can work again in 21st century America. We can go to people through Facebook Live. Our groups can meet in homes by Zoom. We can live a life which unselfishly blesses others.
I’ll be glad when we can return to our building; but let’s not plan on just staying there.