There’s nothing quite like the sadness of being a part of a dying church.

There’s the burden of maintaining a big, empty and often very dated looking building. There’s the ghost of happier days that seem constantly to haunt their memories and gatherings. There are the aging saints who struggle to make it out on Sundays, who seldom find friendship or support throughout the week.

Many churches feel stuck. This can be due to a lack of ideas or energized leadership. Sadly, it is often due to specific individuals, committed to maintaining their power or preferences.

Why do we sit around asking “why is my church dying?”

We need to remember that we serve a God of resurrection! If we are willing to die to ourselves, including our fond memories of the church that used to be, we can be resurrected to become something new.

Here’s are six bold moves I’ve seen or studied that  can be used by God to resurrect your church.

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Flattered to be featured today on the Missio Alliance blog. It was not easy to press “send.”

How #YesAllWomen Destroyed Egalitarianism

You may remember the hashtag sensation #YesAllWomen a few months back.

The outcry was launched in response to a killing spree of women in Isla Vista, CA. For days, social media was awash with exclamations about the differences between being a man and a woman in our society. Some of them were humorous. Many of them were just plain scary.

As I read through my Twitter feed, two things became very clear:

First, the problems we face when it comes to gender are buried deeper than we realize in the structure of our society.

Second, I have absolutely no idea what it is like to be a woman.

Read the whole article here.

It may be that the most important thing our churches can do is become more boring.

Being bored in an over-stimulated world is a cultivated practice. The Pray as You Go podcast is one of the best tools I’ve seen to help develop the spiritual discipline of listening to God’s voice in scripture. Over the course of twelve minutes you will chill out to scripture-based music and pray through a passage of scripture twice.

The podcast format combines the slow, multiple readings of Lectio Divina with Examen style questions. According to their website:

A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend. It is not a ‘Thought for the Day’, a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer.

Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.

Our aim is to help you to:

  • become more aware of God’s presence in your life 
  • listen to and reflect on God’s word 
  • grow in your relationship with God

It should be no surprise that it is produced by Jesuits, who have been developing tools to commune with God for centuries.

If you want to take steps toward a more boring spiritual life and even becoming a boring church, I would suggest using this tool at least once a day. In time you’ll develop a taste for the boring and will be able to dive in deeper.

 

The Cost of Apostleship

Chris —  July 16, 2014 — 3 Comments

“I don’t know how you just talk to people like that, Chris.”

This subtly offensive statement was one I have heard a lot. For a little while, I hosted a weekly dinner where I invited some non-Christian friends from a nearby Starbucks to eat with a few from my church.

It didn’t go very smoothly. For these church friends, talking to people outside our church community was pretty hard. Some saw it as a challenge to grow. Others saw it as an unattainable “gift” I had.

“I just can’t imagine taking the risk of starting something.”

This one I hear all the time from pastors and teachers, searching through an ever shrinking pool for the perfect church job. These statements depict the reality of today’s church for so many. We are constituents and employees of the institution.

Many churches seem to have forgotten the two most basic impulses of an organism: reproduce and adapt.

Or to use more Biblical language:

We have forgotten how to be an Apostolic movement.

THE COST OF

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In his album “Hillarious,” Comedian Louis C.K. rails against the over stimulation of children. He laments that television and video games have made it impossible for children to enjoy everything from the taste of an apple to the pleasures of a sunny day.

(Warning: Explicit)

 

We know that we will never “out-entertain” the world. Fewer of us will have the finances to try.

An increasing number of people today are arguing for a “slow church” or a hyper-localized church. Both of those are helpful, but I would suggest going one step further.

How about a really, really boring church?

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