I have been blogging about how much of a struggle it can be to be a church today. It is based on a “State of the Church Address” I preached earlier this year. After an introduction I have talked about our struggle to know what to change and how much to change. I also talked about the financial struggles that many churches find themselves in today.
The questions of how much to change and the financial concerns have exposed the bigger problems that we as a church are working to overcome in our quest to thrive. The deeper problems are issues of fear and a lack of confidence.
Can we afford things exposes the deeper question- are we good enough? Are we worth fixing? Are we strong enough to make investing in our church worth it? Can we grow? Will our church die off when those currently over 60 years pass away? Will our church be here in 10 years?
One the one hand, we are encouraged by the scripture that Jesus will build His church and that the gates of Hell will not stand against it. We know that God is bigger than the trends, the culture, and the current attendance and offering numbers. But it is another thing to truly believe that about ourselves. That our church can be vibrant again. That we have a future.
What do we feel this way? There are many reasons. There is a sense that what we are doing now worked in the past. When you had a church people came and when you needed volunteers they stepped forward. I am not sure that is actually true in all cases. We often remember our past either better or worse than it actually was. But reality does not matter. We feel as though what used to work doesn’t work anymore.
I am also a big believer in momentum. Momentum is the term in physics for the reality that objects in motion tend to remain in motion and objects at rest tend to remain at rest. I think this is true for churches too. When a church is not moving it takes great effort to get anything going. Any change or any action will be difficult.
This is the area where pastors and church leaders need to focus the most. We need to help churches trust God and believe in themselves. We need to help our churches see the good things they are doing. We need to teach our churches to celebrate small wins so that they can lead to bigger wins.