Recently, I posted the following meme from Clergy Coaching Network:
Needless to say, this post got a few angry faces (for a variety of reasons, I imagine). I can only guess in a few cases. Perhaps for some it comes too close to home, even if they may not realize it. The meme also sparked some comments about what is the past. This, and another post concerning what churches need to unlearn, has me thinking.
Most congregations are stuck. Those who are in the pews recall a "Golden Age," when the pews were filled, Sunday Schools rooms were packed, and several choirs existed. There is an inherent longing to go back to those days without much work to make that happen. Often, this is coupled with a lack of imagination that resists any form of change or innovation that may be much needed.
Churches seem to have lost the concept that the people are the ministers. The people, not the clergy, are responsible for their churches' mission and ministry. We, as the church, need to abandon the idea of the clergy as the designated "Christian" who represents us and ministers on behalf of the people. Studies have shown that it is personal invitation from a member results in people attending church.
Yes, things appear quite scary right now. Racial and political division continue to drive us apart. Global warming has resulted in devastating wild fires around the planet. War and violence are almost an every day occurrence. At such times, it is tempting to regress to a supposed past "Golden Era," when things were kinder, gentler.
I was a Biology major in my undergrad days. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Biology. My studies taught me several things. One was the importance of adaptation. Things that adapt (or change) over time survive. Things that do not finds ways to adapt usually die out. Those that die found themselves unable to function in the new reality or environment.
Of course, this implies a willingness and a capacity to adapt. Churches often say they want to change and are open to changes. The reality is that all too often there is a downright resistance to change and an unwillingness to see the need for adaptation in order to live. Or, perhaps, it is a fear of what change means. Which brings me back to the meme.