January 27, 2011


Last night we had our church annual business meeting. It was a yawn fest. Which was disappointing. It was disappointing because it seemed like we didn't really engage any of the problems and challenges we are having as a church.

We pasted a budget that was very much like last years, a budget we barely met. We approved reports that showed a negative trend in our membership this year. We approved reports that talked about the shutting down of a kids program. In my report I highlight the challenges we are having attracting and connecting with young adults, especially the 18-25 crowd. All of this pasted with no discussion at all.

Well that's not entirely true. We did spend some 10 minutes clearing up typos and another 20 or so discussing whether the Pastor's cost of living allotment in the budget ought to be called discretionary or contingency.

All and all it was a night with a lot of 'yea's' but no real decisions.


While I was sitting there board and frustrated a small piece of me almost longed for the days when our annual meetings were fraught with tension. One meeting was so tense that Frank Magazine a local tabloid came and was able to glean a story. Another time we were so nervous about what would happen we had an plain clothed police officer on hand at the door.

Now that thought passed quickly after all I don't really want to go back to that. But it seems that we replaced years worth of strife and contention with disengagement and apathy. We went from bad to another bad. Neither attitude will move a church forward, and both can lead to it's destruction. One is just a little slower and quieter than the other. One goes down in a blaze of glory the other just slowly fizzles out.

We're fizzling right now.

How about you? How about your church? I gather from talking with other Christians and other pastors the vast majority of churches fall in to one of these two categories. They are either red hot at each others throats, or near ice cold taking great care in picking out the color the carpet their empty building ought to have.

I don't want to be either of these things. I don't want us to explode in anger, but I don't want us to suffocate in compliance. I want to be a church marked with health and vitality!

I don't really have a lot of concrete suggestions right now. I know this year we will launch the NCD process. I am happy about that. Anything that will give us a set of growth indicators and goals at this point would be welcomed.

A book a read a few years ago is bouncing around in my mind right now, Paul Nixon's I refusing to lead a dying church! And I do refuse. But I can't do it alone.

For every clergy member that boldly declares I refusing to lead a dying church we need members to declare, we refuse to be a dying church! We need you to say we refuse to give up and let our church die! It is easy to walk away. It would be simple for a church member to pick up and go when they start to see the signs of church death looming. Likewise it would be simple for a pastor to pass in their walking papers in search for a church that really 'gets it'.

Many have done so. They fill the pews of the select few healthy churches and they make up the vast majority of the para-church leadership. But from me to you; please don't give up on us, we need you.

Let's not give up, with Christ as our helper, with the Holy Spirit empowering us and with the Father guiding us lets decide to live, lets comeback and breakout!