A few years ago, I sat in a pastor’s living room and he asked me a question. “Darrel, how are we going to fix our churches?” He was referring, of course, to the national decline in church attendance. Since then, disinterest in church has not slowed – it has accelerated. It doesn’t matter if you’re progressive or conservative, mainline or evangelical, small or large – the overall trajectory of church activity has been worrisome for over twenty years. The pastor died a couple of years later. He never found an answer to his question.
Author Tim Soerens believes we are at a unique moment in church history. Churches are either entering a new movement of God or we are at a moment of meltdown. In Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are (IVP Publishing), Soerens asserts that the direction we go will be determined by what questions we are asking. The fundamental question is not: What do we do to revive our church? The question is: Why does the church exist? What is it for? What does God want to do? Perhaps our churches have become an end unto themselves rather than the medium through which God works as He establishes His kingdom. Soerens believes that if we prayerfully ask such questions, the Holy Spirit will use us in the work of God. That may, or may not, look like the church of the past. Jesus doesn’t care about our nostalgia for the good old days when our pews were filled. He cares about bringing good news to the poor, releasing the captive, healing the blind, and letting the oppressed go free.
The church exists wherever humanity and the kingdom of God cross paths. It isn’t bottled up in a building under a cross, it’s in our homes and businesses, in our streets and schools. The church truly is all around us. This is good news, especially in a year like 2020 when every pastor is overwhelmed with questions. Christ is risen and the Holy Spirit has been unleashed upon the earth. He is not looking for a remnant of followers to hold on until the bitter end. He is looking for a people willing to collectively re-imagine what being a faithful disciple of Jesus looks like, a church that will prayerfully create an uprising against the disorder of the world. May a new uprising begin.
-Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster