Category Archives: Church

“Those Were the Days” – What Does the Future Hold for Churches of Christ?

Nostalgia is the first step in church life toward congregational death.

“Nostalgia is an exile mentality. Fulfillment is contingent on the ‘once upon a time’ remembrances of yesterday. ‘I remember when’ stories become commonplace in organizations during nostalgic days. The golden days are remembered fondly. From an organizational perspective, nostalgia signals the beginning of a trend toward a lack of trust, unstable relationships, and an erosion of commitment to present programs and ministries.” – Robert Dale, To Dream Again, 105, 107

Many of our churches were born in the 50s and 60s, raised in the 60s and 70s and came to maturity in the 70s and 80s. They have gone through a midlife crises and are now in their waning years. Churches tend to follow the human life cycle in their years and stages. They go from energy, growth and excitement to tired, lethargic and impotent and eventually to death all in about the same number of years of a human life.

Are we convinced our best days are behind us or ahead of us? I think many of us are afraid to answer that question because we believe it is the first but we wish it could be the second. Why is that? Could it be that we idolized the era of our youth, just as aging people in decline often do? Could it be that our nostalgia for our glory days is an obstacle to our future? I think so. What do you think?

The past was rigid. We know that there are things we could do today, even should do today that we don’t because we believe it would dishonor those great people who went before us. But consider it like this for a moment. If those people were born when you were born and experienced what you experienced rather than being born 40-50 years prior (when they were actually born) they might well see things just as you do. We can reconnect with their pioneering spirit without having to also reconnect with every specific thing they believed, especially those aspects of their beliefs that were just as much a product of their day and culture as some of the things we deal with today are.

The future is too important to be held hostage by the past. If you feel nostalgia setting in let it be a red flag that decline is either already going on or is imminent.

Does Unity Require Uniformity?

The short answer is no and yes. The answer is no if you mean complete agreement in all things. The answer is yes if you mean the core doctrines of the Christian faith. When we say we have to have “unity without uniformity” we are talking about the first. We are saying that the BibleContinue Reading

Reframing the Name “Church of Christ”

Having grown up in Churches of Christ, I am well aware of our quirks and idiosyncrasies. I am sure many of you are as well. We have traditionally used all kinds of phrases that are not found in the Bible to talk about things found in the Bible. For instance “we use Bible names forContinue Reading

Your Heart is Only Functioning at 50% – Bad news or Good news?

That is bad news in a doctor’s appointment but for many churches, if half the members were involved in ministry it would be a miracle. The church is a body and bodies are made to work. They are made to move and function in an integrated and self-dependent way. Bodies are autonomous to others bodesContinue Reading

Operating Out of Conviction

Conviction is a word that I don’t hear very often. I think it is underused. The Bible talks about conviction in a few places including the famous chapter on faith in Hebrews 11, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If we are to operate out ofContinue Reading

Organization and the Church Family

I remember being newly married and getting back from our honeymoon. Although we had little cash we had lots of freedom. Going places and doing things didn’t require a lot of organization. You could jump in the car on a moment’s notice without an awful lot of planning. Then come the children. Children bring aContinue Reading

The Obedience/Evangelism Disconnect

If our salvation were to be contingent upon getting every jot and tittle just so then would one be lost if they disobeyed the Great commission? Technically the Greek there isn’t an imperative but over and over again we understand the Christian mission to be one of going and telling. There is no more importantContinue Reading

Being Direct

Every eldership I have ever worked with I have told up front that I will trust them and that I expect for them to tell me anything I would need to know including any criticism that they are directing toward me. This is a very important thing to establish in any important relationship. Often weContinue Reading

Biblical Preaching and Teaching Should Stress High Expectations of Christians

The Bible is clear. Christians should be involved in ministry. Christians should be working together for the good of the kingdom. The body of Christ is the body as it is connecting and functioning together as Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12. In all of my life I cannot think ofContinue Reading

Ministry Update from Auburn

I have been a lot slower on the blog lately. The transition to Alabama has taken a lot of time and energy, just as it should. I wanted to update you on a few things that are going on here by talking about a few areas of ministry that we are focusing on right nowContinue Reading

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