Last weekend I was working with church leaders, tasked with discerning a God-formed vision. It’s mind bending work, but it is the stuff of leadership.
Very often, and for many different reasons, God will shrink a church from one size down to something much smaller. Sometimes the reason a church shrinks is because they have made some poor choices, but often the reasons are totally unavoidable. Changes in employment, changes in the community, changes in denominational affiliation, or a new church opening up down the street are common causes of church reduction. It is very common to find a church that has shifted from 1000 members to 500, or 300 down to 100, or from 100 down to 20. When that occurs, changes are necessary!
Worldly perfectionism causes us to question whether we’re good enough, to miss opportunities because we’re afraid of failing, and to fixate on the immediate rather than eternal. It distracts us from fulfilling our mission by setting our hearts on achieving worldly gain rather than faithful gospel-centered living. In our sinful and competitive hearts, we all want to be that woman (or man): beloved and envied by all. We want to shine bright enough to attract everyone’s attention, and ensure they’re too dazzled by our splendor to notice our flaws.
In the craziness of schedules, and the distractions of a culture overly satiated with information, many people are too busy or disinterested to attend church regularly. And if they do, what will they find?-If a total unbeliever walked in, would he come back? Would she get in her car and say to herself, ‘There was something those people had, that I want. There was a sense of the transcendent that shook me, a force, a power that I cannot explain…”?
There are very few endeavors in this world that can capture a person’s interest for a lifetime. Just like a much anticipated birthday present loses a child’s attention within a few days, (or even minutes), so the undertakings we most anticipate eventually lose their luster. It seems to be the norm in a fallen world. That is, until you come to the study of Scripture.