Sunday, November 11, 2012

The disappearing church | Fire or Blackberries

As I continue to wrestle with the present realities of my last blog "Opting Out", I ran across this blog. It is interesting to me that there are several Pastors and ministries are looking at how to invigorate those that are unchurched, non-churched  and left-churched and so we find ourselves pulled like a Stretch-Armstrong action figure trying to stay firmly entrenched inside of the "churches" four walls, holding onto the pass while the world moves at light speed into the future.
The disappearing church | Fire or Blackberries:

'via Blog this'

Monday, November 5, 2012

Opting Out

I have been in a peculiar place of late trying to wrap my mind around and get a handle on this overwhelming feeling that I want to announce to the world that “I Quit Church”.  As painful as it is to think or feel it; it is ever harder to say or in this case write, but “I Quit church”.

“I Quit church”.   “I Quit church”.   “I Quit church”. 
  Feels good to get it out of my system.
  Okay let me explain myself  as I know the very statement “I Quit Church” will raise some eyebrows. You see I have become increasingly disillusioned with the “church”  not the “Church”(capitol C) the ecclesicasia that glorious assembly of the called out and called into, those that have given themselves to salvation through the body and blood of Jesus the Christ; those that are determined to live there best life know AND to help others do the same in the NAME OF JESUS.  What I have a problem with is the “church”(small c) that weekly assembly of religious Pharisees and folks that pass by wounded  and battered neighbors, friends, family and neighborhoods to huddle inside of four walls to proclaim praise and glory to a God that they have only served on Sunday morning and even then it is a half hearted attempt as glorification of a God that seeks for us to do more and be more.  Let me be real for a moment I am sick and tired of four walled ministry that touches no one.  I am sick and tired of ministry that touches only but a few folks to a couple hundred on Sunday morning only to see the “church” do absolutely nothing to share the word, power, wonder and might that was proclaimed to them that Sunday morning. Let me say this because this is not meant to be just and indictment on the pew members but also the Me and any other Pastor that primarily only participates in ministry on Sunday morning.

I am as guilty as the next person, as I have realized that I was ill equipped to do ministry outside of a pulpit. I am a good preacher and teacher, a fair administrator, but a poor minister of the gospel. When I  say minister gospel I do not just mean the retelling of the good news but more the physical manifestation of ministry that touches those that have not seen the inside of a church within months,  years or ever. The gospel is more than a “praise the Lord”, a “I’m blessed and highly favored” punch line to the question of “How are you?” ; it is more than a tract or flyer; it is more. The gospel  of Jesus The Christ is the interaction with those that had no hope of heaven but with a heart, mind and touch of Jesus the Christ it bring about a change for hells victim to heavens victor with hope and wholeness. The gospel of Jesus the Christ is the personal  interaction that shows a heart of Peace, joy, kindness, meekness, servant hood and sincerity to people that are broken by life and left on roadside bleeding physically, mentally and spiritually, those that have become little less than background sights and sounds to the orchestrate of life we as Christians we have concocted.  What I have come to revolt and despise is the fact that I am responsible for so many people that are going to hell simple for the fact that on Sunday morning, I thought that I was doing ministry, but Monday thru Saturday there was little to no ministry that took place with those that were not members of the churches that I pastored.  I am responsible for powerless church folk who shy away from, cringe at and run from the very idea of touching the sick and the sinner.

As a pastor I have to take responsibility for my part in the delinquency of a Christian. I have to take responsibility for four wall ministry where I was essentially a cheerleader to a team that could not hear me or did not pay attention to me;  where I was a coach calling the plays and there was a total disconnect. Even when I was a player coached and rolled up my selves and got involved the team never showed up.  But I cannot take all of the responsibility for the failures of the “church”. There are literally thousands of churches of every size and shape that are doing a disservice to the cause of Christ. There appears to be a historical disconnect from the essence of Christ purpose, mission and methods by church folk that have become more concerned with membership and country clubesq status. The issue is not just with the absence of outreach beyond the 4 walls of the building, but there is also a disconnect between members inside the building. There are schisms, clicks, social clubs and family patriarchy that have established themselves and essentially disabled the church. It is part of our sin nature, our humanity, our frailty, our flawedness that causes us to deviate so far from the will of God. So I have made the conscious decision to “Quit church”; I am not giving up Jesus, I am not forgoing my Christianity, my faith or beliefs, I simply give up church . I am Opting Out of the silliness that is church for wonder that is Christ. What does that exactly mean, I am still struggling with that, it is still a work in progress, but I will let you know as soon as I know…