This last week, along with my normal visitations of members, chapel for the school, and leading Bible study, included engaging and getting to know various people. It started with discussing the faith with someone who has no faith background at Perkins, it continued with talking about faith at the coffee shop to someone who is United Universalist, and then meeting with various families who are excited for God's Word and have had very little contact with a church.
Our culture is highly Biblically illiterate, yet people are excited to learn more. The frustration for me is that in the old church model typically you could gain "members" with little work (be nice, proclaim how you are better than other churches, and new music). However, today, much of the work is very intense: teaching the basics of faith, getting criticized for strong views of doctrine, and answering many questions with often no membership. Needless to say, tough on the ego. The typical membership swell due to transfer is a thing of the past and all of us in the church really need to step up in our understanding of God's Word and how to communicate the story to our community. Lord have mercy.