The Church in Post-Christendom
Updated: Jan 24
Welcome to My Blog!
I'm currently an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have served 5 churches during my tenure. Four of those churches were in Pennsylvania, one in Indiana. Each church I served has been past their prime but desiring a return to richer times. Along with laity, I have tried many ideas, programs and suggestions from the conference. Nothing grew our church significantly. So I turned to something I should have started with, prayer.
Prayer must come first
I realized that prayer must be a priority of every congregation whether they are growing, dying, or stagnant. Nothing else will connect us with the heart of God and his desires for his church. God may not want you to grow in the same way you want to grow. Worship numbers are often used to determine the health of a church. I'm not sure how the measurement came about, but I don't think it is the best indication of the health of the church. When David was anointed king, God told Samuel, "... The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 26:7b
You can have a congregation of 10,000 people but if the people are surface, for looks only, Christians your church is not healthy. A church whose prayer and commitment to Christ is a priority is a church after God's own heart.
A Commandment and the Commission
I think the reason that church attendance and membership are declining in the United States is that we have strayed from what Jesus called us to do as the church. We are always looking for ministries or missions that will impress people and draw them in. But I don't think this is what the first Christians did and I don't think it is what Jesus wanted his church to be.
I have been studying those early Christians and how the early church grew. I've spent hours in prayer asking God what he wants his church to be. I've come to the conclusion that we have complicated the church and our message. And this is the last thing God would want. I think the church should center itself on two things. The commandment that Jesus told us was the most important, to love God and to love people with our whole hearts. And the great commission where Jesus told his disciples to "go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." Matthew 28:19-20
I believe following these two commands of Jesus will draw people to us and give us the opportunity to share Christ's great love for us. It may not create a huge brick-and-mortar church, and may not create a congregation of the 10,000s, but I believe it will honor God and his desire for his church.
Dedication of blog and website
We have departed the time of Christendom when the church was essential to most people. But in this post-Christendom world, Christ can still be shared and peoples' lives can still be changed. Christ can still accomplish his life-transforming work.
This website and blog are devoted to discovering God's desire for his church in the 21st century. I invite you to join me, share your ideas, and most of all pray for the church's future in America.