Be The Church

There is a pretty common discussion going on around the fellowship hall tables at mainline protestant churches around the country. The church is dying! Our numbers keep going down! Young people aren’t going to church like they used to! Every year there are more and more stories about churches closing or consolidating into multi-point parishes. Every year it seems like there is another report about the end of the church as we know it.

Almost as frequently, the fingers seem to point at young people and their seeming lack of appreciation for church. But I don’t think that’s right. I’m a millennial, and I can tell you that the spirit isn’t dead inside my generation. I think what’s wrong is that my generation has grown up in a church that was too preoccupied with numbers to go out and actually minister.

Stop worrying about the church, people, and just BE the church![1]

Seriously. Stop with the nonstop fundraisers about such and such church repair. Stop fussing about the declining attendance. Stop with the sermons about asking for more money or more church participation. That’s not going help encourage young people to keep going to church and it’s certainly not going to make them feel going about organized religion. Don’t let young people grow up thinking church means Sunday worship and a conference table once a month surrounded by old people arguing about money with nothing in between.

Millennials aren’t done with God, we’re just done with congregations who think church is just Sunday worship and potlucks. Thanks to the internet, we’re a generation who is thinking more globally minded than ever before, and we want a church that reflects that. We want to feel like we are in community with our neighbors both down the street and across the ocean. We want to worship with a church that recognizes the church doesn’t end at the building’s front door.

Most importantly, we want a church that leads through action, not words. It’s not enough to say a church cares about those who are suffering. The church has to actually do something about it, something more than just pray about it on Sunday. We’re sick of churches that are too worried about themselves to see that there is another congregation down the street of people without jobs or homes, but that’s all a lot of millennials see, so prove them wrong!.

Just concentrate on the business Jesus told us to concentrate on: feeding the poor, healing the sick, caring for the weary, etc. Concentrate on evangelism through public servanthood. Concentrate on those things and the church will take care of itself.

[1] I can’t take credit for this. This lovely quote comes from my beloved professor Dr. Cameron Howard at Luther Seminary. Also her colleague, Dr. David Fredrickson.

3 comments on “Be The Church

  1. Well said by all! You are correct – we are God’s hands and feet in this world. The Church is not a building – God lives in us and we must be about His business!

  2. Beautifully written and inspired.

    I’ve been reading and learning a lot about the early church lately. The church has lived through so many amazing trials and hard times. People were killed, killed! for their beliefs (and some still are today, a story for another time). And the church not only survived, but it grew. And it grew because people were focused on the good news, not on the finances and pew polls.

    I agree its concerning that the church is in decline but if we think some self-centered millennials (I am one so I can say that) are going to be the end of the church, we’ve got another thing coming.

  3. Mission is what we do as a church. Our mission field is outside the church biulding, showing Christ’s love to others we come in contact with in our neighborhood, at work, at the store and yes for some of us Zambia. It is a team effort of prayer and financial support of those who are physically able to GOD. We are never along on our mission.
    I continue to pray for you as God teaches and equips you for the mission field He is preparing for you.

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