During my four years of ministry I have noticed one major issue for the American church in the 21st Century: Defining the church. Most congregations are best defined by the number of programs they do. Despite attempts to streamline ministries according to a "mission statement", most congregations are made up of at least ten groups all working separately of one another. On top of that when an idea arrives, the congregation ADDS to the list as opposed to praying and effectively eliminating programs that are no longer needed.
The problem centers on a theology of the church. What is the church? Who are to be the leaders? What is the role of pastor to church worker to the priesthood? What are the core beliefs of a Lutheran Christian church? What things are adiaphora? How does a congregation work within the community to be witnesses? All of these things have never truly been answered in an effective theological framework for our world. On top of that, we have tried to define worship for decades (ever been to a conference on worship), but very little has been done to define the church by which worship is occurring!
These next few weeks, I will be presenting a working framework on the church. This will not be fully comprehensive and I am looking for input from those who read (if there are any of you). Overall, I want all of us to struggle about what the church truly is, not what we grew up with or what has always been done. But to come up with a solid, confessional theology of the church!
Lord have mercy