Saturday, June 6, 2015

Church 101: Recapturing the Dream

The Church is the most amazing thing in the world.  It was dreamt of by Nebuchadnezzar, built by Jesus, preached by the Apostles, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The church is the eternal purpose of God through which he intends his wisdom to be made know to creation.  In it people are transformed into the household of God, the body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit.  It is the glorious bride of Christ for which Jesus came into the world, gave his life for on the cross, rose from the dead and is coming back for again.  It is hard to imagine why anyone wouldn't want to be a part of that awe-inspiring church.

And yet we know there is often a disconnect between that amazing church we read about in the New Testament and our own personal experience.  We know the unsettling news that numerically, the church is in decline in America.  For years, we've been reading books like; Inside The Mind of Unchurched Harry & Mary (Lee Strobel), Surprising Insights From The Unchurched, and The Unchurched Nextdoor (Thom Rainer), UnChristian, and Churchless (David Kinnaman), all telling us about the rise of the unchurched population in America and how to understand them.  Those who mark, "None" when asked about the religious experience are a growing population, and a growing concern for concerned Christians.

But the problem isn't just out there.  A number of other books reveal an unsettling trend within our own walls.  Books like, Why Men Hate Going To Church (David Murrow), Why Nobody Wants To Go To Church Anymore (Thom Shultz), You Lost Me (David Kinnaman), and Why They Left (Flavil Yeakley) reveal that while the "Nones" are a growing group, so are the "Dones"; those who are leaving the church for a variety of reasons.

While it's distressing, I don't think we need to hit the panic button just yet.  Thomas Rainer's book, Autopsy of a Dead Church, isn't meant to distress us, but to help us avoid that becoming a reality.  And the truth is, we do need to take the time to assess where we are, why, and most importantly, how to move forward in the 21st Century.  Can we recapture the dream of Church - as God intended it?

Yes, we don't have to be The Last Christian Generation (Josh McDowell), instead what if we could be The Next Christians (Gabe Lyons).

That is what this series is about.  I want to encourage you to listen to the message I preached at University on Sunday, May 31 and join us on this journey to Recapture the dream of what God intends for his church in the 21st Century.

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