Extra weight can keep the Body of Christ from living out fully the love of God. As frustrating and difficult as this time of quarantine has been, churches have been given the opportunity to shed the weight of excess programs, ministries and activities.
Social distancing has disrupted our habits of work and worship. We can adapt, whether adeptly or awkwardly. We do not, however, have to let social distancing disrupt or destroy “the tie that binds” and “the fellowship of kindred minds.”
These are troubled times, but our faith and our traditions have prepared us for this work. This is the time to believe – and live into – our message.
If you buy into the popular myth – and faulty metric – that a church should devote no more than 50 percent of its budget to personnel costs, you may risk starving your congregation of its energy or life force.
The ecosystem of congregations, judicatories and the institutions that prepare persons for ministry has been fraying across the denominational spectrum.
Borrowing from scripture and the U.S. Navy, I suggest a pastor’s role in today’s world should be like that of Jesus, who began his movement with the flexibility of a new type of vessel, a small crew and the vision of a new creation based on the pattern of heaven.
Traditional, established congregations that are more than 40 years old are in steady and persistent decline. Now is the time to speak the truth, reclaim our hope and launch a realistic and thoughtful plan for our future as God’s people.
Churches must be courageous and open to change. But sometimes, amid all the pulse-taking, evaluations, strategy planning and critiquing, we forget to love the church we have.
In American Christianity today, many pastors and other ministry leaders in the dominant culture are afraid of being prophetically pastoral. As a result, the Church and the Gospel suffer.