Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The future of the church is small

Our church is pretty healthy, but I'm not sure that it's going to be so forever. Our big problem is the idea of an entertainment in place of a shared church service. In my old church the "laity" would lead service, and the preacher would give the sermon, while here the staff does it all. In my old church the families would sit together and the children would see their parents together worshiping God, but would break for age appropriate Bible classes after (or before). Here the parents put the kids in bible class, then attend service alone, then leave, skipping Bible class. Service has come to mean serve me rather than my reasonable act of worship to God.Even mid week we don't have bible studies with our children, we put them in children programs while we have our adult time. When we get together with friends it means find a baby sitter. Our children don't really get to interact with playmates their own age or make friends. That's all cultural. And it's dreadful.What it amounts to is a rejection of the family unit and a dependence on social fabric of 'experts.' But experts aren't there for your children, and they are not providing for the needs of your family. This is in fact a wholesale rejection of our duties as parents, to train up our children at all times, when we walk and lie down, when we go about our day. Instead we have outsourced it all to others and expect results from them.
This sends the message: Church is a preference we have and would prefer you not to be here for it. Is it any wonder that this is already bearing awful fruit? Once out of high school and on their own they leave Christianity altogether, because let's face it, church was only about entertainment to them, and there are actually a lot of other, better ways to be entertained.
When I was teaching the college age group, they would speak of how valuable the Christian life is, and how they get more success and happiness than if they were worldly and going about having sex and doing drugs. I thought that was a very mormon thing to say at first, but now I'm starting to think that that very statement is an indication of a terribly malady that is striking down our kids. Come to Church for what you can get out of it, it's good for you is not just the evangelism pitch but the core belief we are training into people.

The church that doesn't care to put the time in to training it's children, filled with members who give the minimum amount of time and then get out, and shows little regard for God for God's sake has no future. Even if it's gaining in popularity now by appealing to people's sense of 'get away and be served' it's not going to last. Once the last of the children grow up the church is going to by in large blow away.

The church of the future is going to be smaller for it, because popular Christianity has not cultivated God as a starting point. The house is being hollowed out and when the storm comes it's going to collapse.

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