Well I've Never!

I find it hard not to think about the decline of the mainline church.  I grew up in the decline, I am living in the decline, it is all I have ever known.  The language of the decline is normative to me and as much as I don't want to pass that narrative onto my children, I find that I am.  I'll say well we used to do camping trips for our youth back when we had enough kids to do them to my daughter who is in youth group.

And as much as the decline is part of the collective narrative, I find it hard to find a scripture that supports a story of God shrinking, or getting smaller.  The Kingdom of God isn't about a large mustard seed bush that over time dies off until all that is left is one lonely seed.  No it is a story of exponential growth.  The Kingdom of God takes over and is intrusive and turns our expectations up-side-down.

The thing is when we live into the story of the decline and make it the loudest story, the story that guides all of our actions then we place ourselves in the past and we focus on what has happened and not on what is happening or what can happen.  We limit what God can do when focus on what was.

And it comes out in a variety of ways, we might find ourselves saying "well we've never done it that way before."  As if implying and we aren't about to start trying now.  Or we might find ourselves saying "we've done that before and it didn't work."  Implying that we are the same group of people in the same place in our faith journey as we were when we tried it in the past.

I have been part of conversations where the consensus was that "Sunday school" is a thing of the past.  Not that education is, but that doing the education on Sunday mornings is.  This year we pulled out all stops and created a new adult and youth class and have over doubled our adult participation in education on Sunday morning.  

I think it is time that we realize we are the church of resurrection, where anything is possible.  We are the church of the Living God who calls us into ministry.  We are the church of the gospel that has a compelling message for us and for the people in our neighborhoods.  


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