The disappearing church

Do you know what I think about all this talk about the decline in church attendance and how more and more Americans identify themselves with no religion whatsoever? (More than ever before in the history of our country apparently)

I think we’re missing the truth big time. The front page story isn’t that people are so wounded by the church that they’re leaving in droves (though that is happening). The truth isn’t how does Christianity meld itself into society without losing itself or compromising.

The truth is that it’s God at work. He doesn’t live in church buildings. He never has. He is moving everyone out into the streets, into the broken parts of their lives, into the creativity that He meant for them to be in, into the bland landscape of no particular religion so that He can have the freedom that we rarely gave or give Him in our gatherings. His light explodes into darkness and His life is arriving like splatters of color onto the blank canvasses of our numb, sarcastic, jaded, lonely souls.

He’s always wanted to break out. Like the guy who tried to keep the Ark of the Covenant from toppling over, we try to keep Him in place. (2 Samuel 6) He doesn’t want to have to be confined, He wants to be with us!! For heaven’s sake, don’t try to keep things steady, let Him out of the box!

We take ourselves too seriously. We see things backwards. We mourn at the decline of Christianity in our country and try to build more programs (or arks), or try to write the most hip blog to hold on to the people so they won’t be lost, but really, we’re the lost ones. We’re blind. We can’t see that what we fear the most is probably the biggest blessing to God… People being positioned to be less bound up by rules so that He can carry grace straight into their lives and make His home of love inside them. Us included.

Be free. Be free and think outside of all you’ve ever known. You’re loved and you’re not alone.

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3 thoughts on “The disappearing church

  1. Thanks for this Shannon! I came across your post on a friend’s FB wall 🙂 In addition to the places you mentioned, I still think God is in the Church because He is wherever His children are. But, the church should do as you stated: try and engage with the world! I think church is still a great place to connect with other believers, despite it being imperfect because iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) and Paul’s work in starting churches was important. At the same time, we can’t be stuck in the Christian bubble. That’s why I would like a Church that engages with their community ALWAYS, discusses issues openly, remains steadfast to God, have grace, etc. Starting an “outreach” even where we worship right now is great, because Jesus engaged with his disciples (the Church) and fully engaged in culture (the world). Another “Bible study” may be great but I prefer being with teen moms or a girl that’s considering suicide. Thanks again for this! I’m a new reader 🙂

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