Church 2.0 – Part Two

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. – Matthew 16:25

Last week I blogged about the decline of the Church in America and the need to reimagine what it means to be Church. While I have more questions than answers, I’ve become increasingly convinced that two shifts in thinking will play an important role in the journey ahead.

First, a shift from Church as an institution to Church as a movement. When the Church was birthed in Acts 2, it was birthed as a movement, not an institution. People were empowered with the Holy Spirit to take God’s healing and redeeming love into the world in service of our neighbor. Over time we built buildings, drafted constitutions and bylaws, prescribed liturgies and trained professional clergy to support the mission. And, as human nature is want to do, we eventually made the institution into something that primarily serves us. We ceased to see ourselves as the movement of God in the world. For example, in 32 years of ministry I’ve heard hundreds of people complain about things like worship music, but few concerned that we aren’t serving more of our neighbors.

And that leads to the second shift: from getting the world into the Church to getting the Church out into the world. When we envision Church as an institution we focus on sustaining the institution. Our core question becomes, “How do we get more people into the Church?” But when we reimagine Church as a movement the core question becomes, “How do we get more of the Church out into the world?” How do we equip people of all ages to use their God-given gifts for service in the world wherever they live, work and play?

Jesus taught his followers that real life could be found in giving ourselves away for the sake of God’s call to love God and neighbor. How much more life might the Church experience if we stopped focusing on institutional decline and focused instead on giving ourselves away for the sake of God’s mission in the world? Here’s an inspiring story of how one church did exactly that.

What would it look like if your church saw itself as a movement, and gave itself away for the sake of your neighbors?

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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  • Steve Anderson
    Reply

    Here’s a thought.

    As a church treasurer I tried to figure out how to keep a church going on 10% of the congregation’s earnings. This was particularly difficult because few members gave 10% of their earnings.

    What if we focused on what could be accomplished if members used 90% of their earnings to serve other people. Just imagine what could be accomplished!

  • Mike Gerkin
    Reply

    This is one of your better blog comments. Both of your conclusions appear to be spot-on in defining where we (the church) have slipped away from our original intent and mission (Matt 28:19,20). I pray you will continue to share your understanding with whoever will listen including in your sermons. Thank you

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