Lately my reading and discussions, and therefore my thinking, have been returning often to how to make the church more relevant. There is a great deal of concern about the trend of many Christians away from the church. With some of the churches I've visited, I can certainly understand where some of these people are coming from.
However, regardless of the wide varieties of reasons for the decline in church attendance across North America, my concern is with helping our local congregation become all that it was intended to be. As imperfect as it is, the church was and is God's chosen instrument to help people find relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. That being said, the question is: how can the church relate the Gospel message effectively to the world, while continuing to minister to the Christ-followers in their midst? It's a challenge we're going to continue to work through because it's worth the effort to get it right.
As I've been unable to preach over the past couple of months, I haven't had the same outlet for the thoughts that I'd like to share. So what I've been doing is preparing for the time whan I am able to speak again. One series in particular has been rattling around in this little pea-brain of mine and I've tentatively called it "Straight Talk For Tough Times."
I've had the chance to observe much of the human drama played out around me and have had opportunity to minister to a great many people in various kinds of distress. I know this: some people's lives are very difficult. Sometimes, but not always, the challenges they face are self-inflicted. I see Young Adults thrust into a world for which they are largely unprepared. I see pre-adolescents forced to grow up too soon. I see teens dealing with issues their parents and grandparents can't fathom. I see adults who don't like change forced to adapt to a society that will not slow down.
So.... I think we're well past the stage where we just want to come to church to hear someone talk about a subject that has no bearing on our daily living. I sense that people are looking for answers to the questions and challenges life is constantly throwing their way. That's where I need your help. I'm looking for your input on some of the real issues you would like to see addressed from the pulpit. What would you like to hear addressed from a Biblical perspective? What issue or concern do you think your non-churched neighbor would like help with?
I'll be working on this series over the next few weeks and I'd really appreciate your input. If you feel better doing so privately, send your response to my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're not shy, post it as a comment to this blog. I hope to hear from you.