Thursday, September 18, 2008

What will the church have to strugle with in a post-church culture?

I am starting confirmation this week. I LOVE confirmation. I enjoy the questions, the energy, the sincere discussions, and also how hard our young people make life.

However, we are at a turning point in the confirmation process (as is the church and her ministry) because I do not know how much longer we will be able to expect the typical 7th and 8th grade confirmation, Wednesday night study, required church attendance, memory work, etc will be an effective way. I am a big proponent of it, but I wonder what changes will be needed in the future.

In the same way, I believe it is the same with how we do church (worship, teaching, evangelism, etc). I do not believe we need to change our worship format, get bigger buildings, or give up on centuries of tradition, but there are some things that we are going to struggle with.

Here are some examples:
1) Are we willing to change our times of worship if it meant more disciples and more in attendance? (not format, but time!) Is there another day that might work?
2) Are we willing to let more lay people lead major aspects of ministry (lay visits, small group Bible Study) while still having pastoral oversight?
3) Are we willing to look at reducing the size of our buildings and increasing the amount of ministry on a simple level?
4) Are we willing to look at the possibility of working more together as a Synod churches to get some aspects of ministry done (food pantries, youth workers, counseling services, etc)?
5) Are we willing to make sure that Christ is uplifted and not ourselves? If increased ministry means letting some groups fall apart, are we ready for that?

These are all questions, I struggle with. And I struggle with it because I have a strong desire to keep ahold of our confessional heritage (and cling to it very strongly) and live in our world today in how we do church. I am open to any insight anyone may have and pray that the Holy Spirit may guide us on this endeavor!

Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy

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