I believe 2020 will be a year of spiritual breakthroughs…at least that is what I am praying for. We are going to have to break from our fear. We are going to have to break from our comfort. We are going to have to break from tradition. We are going to have to break from so many things that keep us in lock step with the very things that are weighing us down.
The problem is we don’t know how to operate otherwise. Neither do others…and before you know it someone is alarmed. Someone is afraid. The change is too much and for unity sake you have to keep everything in check and signal to the masses that nothing has changed – everything is okay.
Well, not everything is okay. Our churches are in decline. Attendance trends nation-wide are lacking. We aren’t planting churches. We aren’t making disciples. We don’t know how to have spiritual conversations with non-believers. We are too insulated and isolated.
This is not just a culture problem – church culture…although that is part of it. It is truly a spiritual stronghold problem. We are addicted to comfort, consistency, predictability…well the Holy Spirit doesn’t do any of that. If you want predictability, faith may not meet your standards.
We must pray for spiritual breakthroughs if we are going to see growth in 2020. We must pray that God will break us, humble us, and that we will respond with total absolute trust and submission.
This is a hard thing but the alternative is far worse. The reality is the very thing we think will kill us is the solution. It is like chemo – you hope the solution doesn’t kill you before the disease does. Church can be like that. The solution may hurt but it is better than dying.
Will you join me in this prayer?
But we already know the solutions, Matt! What “new” things are you looking for?
We KNOW why we are slowing down – we find local comforts and salaries more important than supporting missionaries, no matter where they are.
We KNOW why we are slowing down: We are no longer different in our teaching and preaching.
I predict that within the coming decade we will have accepted same sex relationships within congregations of the church of Christ.
We already have female elders, bands to entertain us during the assembly, the “sinner’s prayer” (if I understood Lucado right), we already have the clergy…
Slowly but surely, we are leaving the “doctrine of the apostles…” the “unity of faith” “once proclaimed…” So why not join the nearest mega church, and dissolve…
Two things…I am not sure of the WE you are talking about across the board like that. It isn’t as uniform as you make it out to be.
Second, we KNOW many things [your caps, not mine] but knowing doesn’t do anything. We need to humble ourselves because we leaned too heavily on just knowing. We got so good at knowing. Then we sat down and patted ourselves on the back on our way to the grave.
We need to seek God. We need His intervention that goes beyond what we can know and goes beyond what we can do.
Recognizing and admitting the problem is the first step on the way to healing.
Of course, We could also go back to the Word, take up our role as proclaimers of the Risen Christ, and forget the multi-million edifices we have built in place of carrying out our mission, repenting and doing that for which we are called…
Our mission as His children really is simple: Tell people what God has done for mankind in Christ. That God is crying for reconciliation with Him, through His Son. That His intent is to restore the relationship between Him, the Father, that He, the Father is the center of our life – rather than the Son.
We do not accomplish that sitting in comfortable chairs, praying as lot – and invite people to come to church. We KNOW (using caps because I cannot use bold) that was never the intention of God, that we invite people in from the safety of the pews.
I speak of the same “we” you are, Matt. I read your writing regularly, and wonder what makes you “the” doctor and fixer of our needs. Obviously, we have different solutions. But my solution will cost you your job as a full time minister, so I understand there is personal loss.
For the past 22 or so years, after 20 years in a mission field, I have had a “regular” job, paying my own way, and proclaiming Christ in as many ways as possible, to as many people as possible. Even when working in an environment which frowns upon such activities. As a member of a congregation I am active in different ways, with the same purpose in mind.
This comment is presumptuous in several counts. I gave never claimed to be even A doc for the church much less THE. Huge presumption on your part.
Presumption number two is that I works disagree with you because of money.
You are just making things up about me and my view that have no basis in reality.
I am not upset or offended that you did that. I am just pointing it out and clarifying my own position for myself.
IN NO WAY WOULD I EVER THINK YOU DO YOUR WORK BECAUSE OF THE MONEY!!! I know that should you have a change of mind, it comes with great sacrifice. Been there, done that. There is no amount of money that comes close to making up the hur experienced in local work. Even now, when I am asked to be a visiting preacher, I have a hard time accepting money.
Matt, who is YOUR “we?” Your family? Your congregation? “Us” in general?
Thank you for clarifying. As far as my “we” goes it depends on the context. Which statement are you referencing?
“I believe 2020 will be a year of spiritual breakthroughs…at least that is what I am praying for. [We] are going to have to break from [our] fear. [We] are going to have to break from [our] comfort. [We] are going to have to break from tradition. [We] are going to have to break from so many things that keep [us] in lock step with the very things that are weighing [us] down.”
Note the brackets…
I mean in the OP a very general we as in we in the CofC. That won’t fit everyone. We rarely fits all
Under its umbrella. It is a generalization. I appreciate the effort to understand.
Just so you know, I do appreciate your posts!! And react only when I have a disagreement… Guess I should let you know more often that I DO appreciate your work!