February 18, 2012

A Chance for Change? :: Part IV

This is part 4 (read part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here) of a blog series talking about the chance for change within The United Methodist Church. In this post I will be focusing on change at the local church level. I understand each local church is different but I believe there are a number that share a few similarities as I speak from a United Methodist perspective and continue to hope for change.

There is a pervasive inward attitude within many of our local churches that is determining the way in which we engage ministry (or don't). So often we become driven by our own comforts and traditions that we fail to see the culture around us has and is changing. It's not so much that comfort is the issue but rather, whose. If we fail to change our focus from keeping those on the inside comfortable to how we make those on the outside more comfortable, we will continue to struggle to actually be the Church.

Our resistance to change will continue to domesticate Christianity and make it seem completely irrelevant to a culture that is constantly moving and searching for meaning. By allowing this to happen we have made our message contrary to the Gospel Message; trading transformation, hope, and grace for conformity, comfort, and control. If we do not change our ways many of the mainline Protestant denominations will continue to go the way of the artifact.

What changes do you want to see at your local church? How are you going to be a part of bringing that change about?


Holly said...

I'm beginning to think that we have made a mistake by focusing our ministries within the church. I would like to see us move back into the NEIGHBORHOOD where we live. Jesus taught us to "love our neighbor" not our fellow church member. We have forgotten how to be neighbors in a VERY literal sense. Instead of holding small group meetings in the church with other church members, we should begin hosting dinner parties for our neighborhoods. We need to get to know who these folks are, perhaps pray with them and for them, and maybe even visit them when they are sick or in trouble. Ministry needs to move outside of our doorstep. Perhaps pastors could begin to model this, and train church members to do the same.