Friday, May 30, 2014

Land of the Missing

Recently it was brought to my attention that the reason people are not attending church is because they are not interested in being entertained during a worship service. I've visited many churches in our ministry travels and could not think of any churches my family and I have visited that resembled "entertainment" worship. The majority of churches are Christ focused and ministry driven.

On the other hand many times the people that are making these statements are older church members over 65 who have watched as there church service attendance has declined to a point of desperation just to keep the lights on.

As much as churches want to change and keep up with the times the management of the church is outdated for the culture around them. The deacons and committees that run the church are not willing to release control to the staff or even an elder board. Management of the church is as critical to it's success as is the content of the messages that are taught throughout the ministries of the church.

Many times the attitude that gets a church stuck in the past is one of "God will work out the details". A children's ministry with no official training program for its volunteers, greeters with no direction, sub par sound, video and media presentations on a Sunday morning. An attitude of mediocrity and with out direction or leadership will result in sloppy results. And the price is paid with small attendance. The families in our communities are aware of this attitude and can see it before the church has an chance to respond to it.

I've sat in meetings where audio and video equipment upgrades and service formats are being discussed and recommendations are being made but the professional is being shut down because an older leader doesn't think upgrades are necessary and that cheap equipment is just as good as professional equipment. It's a "we've always done it this way and it has always worked in the past" kind of attitude. Even if the cost of the equipment isn't the issue. It's a tough situation to be in.

The same is true when changes are being discussed for the good of the church. Many older, long term members lack a vision to understand the changing nature of the community around them. Even with leaders that know how to help a church meet the needs of the community the stubbornness of traditional members can cease any chance of growth.

If established churches want to grow they will need to relinquish control and let a new generation of leaders take the helm. The new leaders are young Godly, Christ follower's with a focus on the community beyond the walls of the church building. These buildings are wonderful examples of the faith in our neighborhoods yet the generations that build these building seem to lack the foresight to pass them on to the next generation.

Church may never be the same as far as where we worship is concerned. The message of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior doesn't change and must be brought to our communities with out compromise but if the leaders in our traditional brick and mortar church buildings don't change they will be sold off to the highest bidder.

What's missing? The families in our communities, growth in the church culture, a vision for the generations to come and a plan to share Jesus Christ into the lives of the people in our neighborhoods. It's time we pass the torch.