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Problematic future for the church?

January 29, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Spent some time reading other blogs this morning, something I have not been doing for a month or more.  Internetmonk has posted the first two parts of a series on The Coming Evangelical Collapse.  Here is part one–why is this going to happen and part two is  about what will be left. It is loooong but I think worth your time to read.  I must admit I scanned over both of his posts and I don’t quite know what to think.  As I sit here, I am asking myself, what does this mean for me? As a missionary, I suppose I could feel particularly vulnerable to hear a discussion  about the demise of the evangelical church since that represents our support base.  Yet I am not sure that this is a necessarily bad thing. I am sure Michael Spencer will write more about that in his third post on whether the collapse will be good or bad.

As I think van Kaam would say, at the heart of the problem for many churches is a pursuit of transcendent functionalism.   In other words, there is an attempt to harness the transcendent in order to make our churches and ministries more functional, almost a choice to do whatever it takes to grow.  To say it another way, perhaps for many of us, we have forgotten that it is not about us, but about God.  I know this has been the lesson that God has been trying to teach me and I wonder if I am making much progress.  I guess being aware is movement and when God shows me that I have made it (life, ministry etc) about me, that is a gift from Him for which I am thankful. Perhaps, it will take a “collapse” for the church to repent of the direction we have been heading.

As my wife said to me last night (on a slighly different topic), we must continue modeling what God has shown to us with great humility and under the fear of God.  I love my home churches and thoughts of their declines deeply saddens me.  I know there are people who ask every week, “Now, why am I here?” I don’t think that should be the case.  I do not offer solutions–maybe the internet monk and others will do so!  I think what God longs from me is that I continue with a passionate pursuit of God, growing in daily intimacy with Him.  As His love touches my heart, I will become a better lover, leader, missionary, father, husband, evangelist and it will be Him impacting my world around me. Sometimes, it may even be through me and that will be my pleasure and for His glory.   May God be pleased to bring others along with me (and I along with others) on this journey to be conformed into the image of Christ–isn’t that what the church is all about?

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  1. Charlie
    January 29, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Still digesting all that he wrote but my initial impression is that he is not far off. His mention of the Anglican Mission in America caught my attention. It seems like an interesting movement from what little I know about it so far. By the way, I was intrigued with this quote from MS.

    “It is time for missionaries to come to America from Asia and Africa.”

    Humm. Maybe it’s time for you and Doris to consider a field change:-) We are missing you this week during the CBC GO Conference.

  2. January 30, 2009 at 8:02 am

    You know over a few hours in Texas, I had talked to folks from mainland China, Vietnam and Cambodia. To me, that is the future of the church and those churches that open their eyes to the cultures among us and make the necessary adjustments; they will face a bright future. Our group now has a diaspora field for this very reason.

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