When thinking about Church, I believe this applies too. Change is hard for lots of people. But for Christians and people of God we should be in a constant state of change. God is never content to leave us where we are. Paul, and John Wesley, exhorted us to go on toward perfection. We have a direction and we have (as we learned this Sunday) a divinely appointed destination. But getting there means an attitude of willingness to change and let God do what the song says ... use us and mold us.
Over the years I have had a sense that God is leading the Church (and the individual places I have served) to some drastic changes. You might ask why we should change something that has been in place in its current form for a long time? Glad you asked.
Did you know the in the age of mega-churches and large congregations all over the country the % of people who say they are Christians has steadily declined? Did you know that mainline denominations have lost millions in membership and attendance? Did you know that the overall attitude toward church is not positive but negative? And here is the point I want each of you to get ... if we (the church in America) keep doing things the way we are doing them and have done them for the last 50 years what do you think will happen? You guessed it ... we will keep getting the same results and those negatives will just keep going downhill. So ... what do we do?
In our current sermon series, Crazy Love (being madly in love with a great God), we will learn that there are several things we can do. We can stop doing church and start being the Church. We can passionately communicate Jesus to the world in a language the world can hear. We can go around the church building and look critically at everything asking the question, "What do I see that could be a barrier to someone who wants to learn the Good News of Jesus Christ?" We can ask good questions ... like 1) for each person entering our doors, "What do you want us to remember about you?" ... 2) "What is the most profound God-related thing that ever happened to you? Tell us that story!" ... 3) "If money were no object, what would you like to see happen in this congregation?" ... 4) "What do you think God is doing here at Abbevile United Methodist?" ... 5) "What do you think God would like to do with your life?" Michael Card wrote in a song "could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do?" I wonder ... Do we, as the Church, try to feed people cliche' answers rather than teaching them how to think, live, love, grow, struggle, strive and follow? Now that is a question I am asking each of you! Pastor Randy