Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What’s wrong with the church in America?

I just read several other blogs. They were all on the topic of “what’s wrong with the Church in America?” They pretty much agree that whatever the American church is doing isn’t working. Attendance, membership, giving, missions, and nearly every other measure of “working” is declining.

The discussions disagree when they address “what’s causing the failure and what should be done about it.” Some think the mega-church is to blame. Some think that an emphasis on small groups and connecting is taking away from a focus on teaching truth. Some blame culture. Some blame seminary training.

I wish I had an answer. Please don’t read that as a stock disclaimer. I really mean it. I don’t have an answer! I would just like to rephrase the question, and give a context for answers.

Rather than asking “what’s wrong with the church and how it should be fixed?” I would rather we ask:

“What does a genuine follower of Christ look like in 2006?”
“What are the obstacles that discourage or prevent that?”
“How can a community of faith remove those obstacles?”
“How can a community of faith encourage that life-style?”

When the question is “what’s wrong with the church?” The process cannot help but be negative. The process of answering the questions I suggest would be more positive, I also think it would be more useful. But please don’t infer that by useful I mean to imply that we could all agree on a standard set of answers.

In reality, I’m quite certain we would never get a convincing, satisfying, unified answer to any of the questions I propose. I recently read a book that implied you couldn’t be a good Christian if you weren’t actively working on environmental issues. I saw a Television show that implied you couldn’t be a good Christian unless you were financially blessed.

So, what are we to do? I suggest that we graciously allow anyone and everyone to try. It may be that we couldn't agree on a single answer because there IS no single answer.

In this season in my life, I do not need a mega-church. In fact, its polished professionalism would be quite an obstacle for me. Please don’t decide it’s the answer for America today. Likewise, please don’t decide that every person in America needs the relationships, connections, honesty, and accountability in a home church. My living room isn’t big enough.

No comments: