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ONEBLINDGUY dot COM. Touch Church. In Your Pocket

Embracing Change. Touch Church


A jaded view of the church? I don't think so. Let me explain. Many pastors and lay leaders work hard. But, working the same way for the same reasons, when the cultural landscape has changed, can provide results that don't represent the sweat involved. Working harder is not enough. You have to work smarter. You have to understand your demographics. You must reach-out and offer points of inspiring/relational invitation. Because their is a mismatch, change is necessary. And, conflict is sure to result in the congregation. However, the problem is not conflict. rather, it is avoidance. Many congregations insist on keeping the peace at any cost instead of faceing reality. They are the faith institutions that just kick the can down the road. If any institution wishes to engage in a growth-curve that requires asking the correct questions, and, perhaps, more importantly listening with a open-ear. Then act accordingly. Most congregations don't even get this far in the change process. And, get out of the territory that claims the church as a marry/bury social institution. If the church remains in that mold, it is doomed to failure. With over thirty years of faithful church attendence, serving as a youth advisor and Sunday school teacher, serving and chairing boards and committees, plus a background in business/marketing; here is my critically learned experience. In the mix of congregations located in the United States, there are a precious few that are truely transformative agents for change. Many are clergy and lay-empowering opportunity killers. They often are social-clubs, limp along, content with their predicament. They are controlled by bullies, single families, holding to the past, consistently unfriendly to outsiders and resistant to change. Their lay leadership are passive. No bold new initiatives. no blazing of new paths or roads less taken. And, they still ask the same question over-and-over. Without listening to the answer. How do we keep from dying? But, their hesitation answers this often repeated question. The reality is that, already, and, for the record, they are dead!

In the mainline protestant church We hold self-evident the primacy of the local church (especially in the United Church of Christ) but, no longer is local necessarily defined by geography. When the local congregation is no longer guided by God's welcome/love/promise in mission/vision and happy plus nice is revered above all else, that congregation no longer holds any local authority. For that matter, judicatories are not immune either. If they have fallen off the path, the same holds true!
You as a religious/spiritual consuemr (don't let that business/marketing term throw you), have choices. Yes, lest you forget; choices! You don't have to be reconciled to a poor second, third or worse. Plus, today, that first choice can be thousands of miles away. However, as close as an internet connection.
Is there a downside? Of course. Just as any other choice, one has to make a compromise. If you value face-to-face relationship, one has to be intentional in creating that kind of space. And, I believe that can happen. There are so many ways that one can be in conversation online. Many possibilities are live and in real time allowing for discussion verbally. If you value membership, these churches offer ways to make it happen. Making donation to ministries for a particular congregation? No problem. Many offer online donation systems that are more convenient and more or as secure than traditional paper. Just be open to the possibilities!

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