Over the last year and a half I have been struggling through the concept of church as an organization and church services. As a point of clarification, I am not struggling with the idea of we the people of God are the Church. When I say struggle, I literally mean I have been wrestling with some of the ideology that permeates our culture of churchianity. Why do we have 3 songs and 3 sermon points and that that constitutes a service? Why is church attendance declining while in other countries it is exploding? Why are some local churches growing and others not? What is it about the model that isn’t working?
While thinking about it I remembered the other morning while I was training some soldiers. One of them went for an armbar but missed the elbow. Immediately I shouted abandon it, don’t waste your energy, you missed the elbow. I’ll spare you the term we use in the fight world when a fighter holds onto something longer than they should. In essence when you go for something that is ineffective or has been countered and hold onto it longer than you should of instead of playing human chess and having your next move already in pocket. This type of narrow mindedness will exhaust yourself physically as well as mentally. This leads to an empty gas tank with more fight to go.
I think some of the issue facing churches across the country is the same kind of idea. They have held on to stuff way past its ability to be effective like; traditions, music, leadership, Sunday School, properties, buildings, methods, name of the church, or whatever else you want to fill in the blank with. We need to be willing to change our name, location, or even denominations and fellowships if what we are doing isn’t working.
Jesus ran into the same thing in his day. Do you remember the story of the old wine skins vs. the new wineskins? The Jews were holding onto something past its effectiveness. Jacob did it and God wrestled him into submission and changed his name.
Where ever you are in life don’t get bogged down in the details or reputation or tradition of what you are doing. If what you are doing isn’t effective ABANDON IT OR CHANGE IT! Traditions fade with the changing of generations so where Vacation Bible School was appropriate why not try something like Vacation Missions. Literally you take the kids to the inner city to serve and teach? If your music is holding you back change it. If it is property sell it, or EVEN GOD FORBID change the name of the church.
Think of new and creative ways to accomplish the mission and goal of the true Church then implement it as soon as possible and give yourself and your team a new burst of energy and life in Christ.