From CEO of Church Excellence Framework
I am passionate about church becoming all God intended for it and represent what the people loved, well-equipped to be sent out in a lost world that really needs us. America, the UK and Australia were strong Christian nations and much of our life now is due to our strong Christian heritage.
Therefore I was so sad to read of the incredible figures (millions) of ‘Done with Church’ people. And what was even more sad to read was the quote from Josh Packard at the conference on Future of Church where he explained that,from ground breaking research “the de-churched are among the most dedicated and active in their congregations”. So we are losing our best.
If we put this together with the fact that millennials are not engaging well with church, would you agree that we need to take drastic action? If the ship is sinking is this the time to be having a show or more importantly trying to fix the leak?
Fixing the leak will mean doing all we can to keep these people from leaving, as it is harder to get them to return. Many are seeking organic versions of church .This exodus is a poor outcome for the church. So can we encourage our leaders to find out why people in their church are leaving and say we want to do something about it?
Moving on to the next is not a long-term solution as many others are likely to have similar issues. Also asking new people what is their experience of the church is a great exercise to stay on top of what is actually happening on the ground. We must have a generation of leaders who are not leading in a vacuum.
IF we look at a sample of the reasons Packard describes in his book Church Refugees, we may get a few clues as to why people are walking away.
- They feel they have heard it all before
- They are tired of being lectured to
- They want to participate, not pay to listen
- They feel spurned at every turn.
George Barna has recently released a book called Churchless which is a thorough description of what is happening in America.
This is why we developed the framework to communicate a more organic way of operating a church that draws more closely to biblical and New Testament churches. We are not advocating a model but principles. Getting many organic churches up and running is a long-term project but helping people who are disillusioned but still in church is just as important right now. All some may need is some message that shows that current leaders are looking at doing things differently and are aware of their plight.
I am encouraged that the leadership training institutes are now raising leaders who can see beyond the traditional role models . Also as some may have come to Christ without going through traditional church, they can see things with a fresh set of eyes and see evidence in the bible of the real ecclesial church where participation, debating and raising and sending disciples was central. Many millennials are craving really good biblical principles of authenticity, serving with a purpose, and believing their worth is more than a being a spectator which is very encouraging. So there is a lot of hope that with a bit of focus and participation by the WHOLE body (not just pastors) we can turn things around.
Frank Viola in his book reimagining church , explores the concepts of organic church, which may hold many of the answers for the new generation.
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