What happened to the church? There was a time when our pews and parking lots were full. When the question was “What church do you go to?” and not “Do you go to church?” When Christians got asked opinions on the news of the day. You could not be president of the bank in town unless you were a member of one of the main churches in town.
Many church members today mourn the loss of “the good old days.” The fuller sanctuary at Easter or Christmas Eve only helps to bolster the frustration. Many people want their churches to be bigger and more important.
At the same time that people want this growth they often do not want to change in order to see this growth. What they would really like is for the world to change back into the world where their church worked. Or, if some were honest, what they really want is for people to come and help pay for the church to continue as it is.
So we try some little things. Maybe if we hire a young pastor then young people will come. Maybe we need lyrics on the screen. Maybe if more people knew about our bake sale they would come to it.
The world is not going back. In fact, I think that it is only going to change more in the future. We need more than a younger pastor or a projector. We need to rethink church. We need to put everything we currently do under a microscope to ask if it is really essential to the life of the church. And we need to try a bunch of new things. Most of these new things won’t work but we need a lot of failure in order to find the things that will work.
We like growth without change, but they seem to always go together.