Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Who's Going To Do It?

A recap of our last class session is found in the previous post "Revival" followed by comments echoing the sentiments expressed by our class members. Essentially, we found agreement with Brother Pat when he said, "Discipleship over Membership, and Intentional over Institutional should be our watch words" in guiding the church back to reclaim it's roots in genuine Methodism.

Brother Pat went on to say: "Not only an increase in discipleship, but an increase in the faith filled practices of worship, including testimony, prayer, and spirit led worship are also needed to complete the change. There must be others who recognize this. Who are they?"
This is the question that I'd like to address and I solicit your input as well...

But perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask the question "WHERE are the others who recognize the need to let the Holy Spirit lead us in open and sincere worship unencumbered with rigid and rote liturgy? Where are THEY? They might very well be sitting next to you in church on Sunday morning and you'd never even know it.

Why? Because, unlike you who have undertaken this course of study in order to serve our Lord in a powerful way, most church-folk don't want to get involved, rock-the-boat, be branded as a renegade by their peers, and above all - move beyond their comfort zones - even for the benefit of their faith. In spite of the growing restlessness in the pews (and some defections), few are willing to step out in faith and pursue the path to authentic worship that is on a lot of our hearts. Are you?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Church Revival

I found it interesting that two of our classmembers chose "strengthening rural churches" as the topic for their class assignment at our last meeting. It really comes as no surprise as the West District is comprised largely of small congregations set in rural areas. Nonetheless, it was very gratifying to see the CLM candidates identify a primary need within their midst and embrace it.
There can be little doubt that this group is serious about the mission God has placed on their hearts.

Discussion was peppered with serious concern for the current state of the church and what we as disciples are called to do about it throughout the class time Saturday. There were some empassioned words expressed by several members about the need to return to our roots as a denomination. A shift of primary agenda to evangelism beyond the church and away from preservation of the church intitutional structure was cited as a formative step to reclaiming the roots of Methodism. In essence, we voiced that quality of discipleship was of far greater importance than an emphasis on quantity of membership.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is it God's will and does it serve our mission

Brother Eric,  I certainly appreciate your love and concern for these older and smaller churches, and at one level, it is not only appropriate, but a worthwhile calling for CLM's to work to turn these churches into thriving churches.  However, I think the question must be asked, and hopefully answered through prayer, whether the "salvation" of these churches is really God's will.  In some ways, nearly all United Methodist churches need a measure of salvation.  I think the revitalization taking place at my home church in many ways is of that nature, because without a renewed focus on the mission of bringing people to Jesus Christ, we were on the downhill path.  
These churches you mention may not be a vital part of that mission today.  I know the Brenham area in general is growing rapidly, but are the areas served by these churches growing?  If not, perhaps your, and God's efforts should be focused on areas of growth, with many unchurched.  If the only mission, today, of these churches is to minister to their parishioners, then perhaps it is not in the cards for them to be revived.  You know these churches, and their hearts, and their willingness to fulfill the mission, so if I am missing the mark, just say so.  But I think, today, with so many needs, and with the rural areas stagnating, perhaps combining these churches, or, sadly, letting them go, is a better answer.  My only point here is that we must consider how we utilize our resources, of buildings, money, and wonderful  caring people like yourself, in the light of our mission.