The Shrinking Church 02: No More BS…The Church Needs Resurrecting
The Shrinking Church: No More BS…The Church Needs Resurrecting
Prologue and Introduction: Intent and Purpose
This thread of articles is for clergy and leaders of mainline protestant churches. The purpose is to recognize systemic dysfunctions and leadership gaps that are limiting the effectiveness of the local church and many times are in the way of true and effective ministries. For the full statement, see Post #1 of the ongoing series. The intent is to promote dialogue through, and awareness of, possibilities for growing healthy ministries of any kind.
Post #2: No More BS…The Church Needs Resurrecting
“If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.” – Woody Allen
This is written during a time when thousands are leaving the church weekly, a time in which Millennials think that the church does more harm than provide value, and a time when church leaders are divisive in leading their congregations to exclude “others” not acceptable to their particular dogma.
Jesus died and Christ arose…the ultimate sacrifice. Do we value this sacrifice? Many died, burned at the stake for translating and preserving our Bible, and we don’t even take the time and energy to read and study it seriously. Maybe the church has died and we don’t even realize it. It’s time to notice.
It’s time to ditch the bullshit and get to the real meat of the issues that are plaguing the organized church.
The bureaucracy is stifling…
The CEO posturing of clergy, and congregations’ expectation that the clergy be CEOs, is contrary to the role of spiritual leader…
The brutality of clergy toward church musicians is toxic to ministries…
The petulant and churlish behavior of musicians toward clergy is polarizing for members…
The consumer mentality of church members is minimizing their spiritual growth and the ability to strengthen the Christian community…
We’ve created a scarcity mindset when God has provided us with abundance…
We have subliminally reframed scripture to support our positions, rather than aligning our behaviors and philosophies to the intent of scripture.
It’s time for a new model for leadership!
“The tactics used by some clergy that hold members through guilt and duty, in that they must earn salvation and be in favor with God (translated as, in favor of that clergy’s tactics), is another area of bullshit to which Nadia Bolz-Weber speaks quite frankly:“. Read the post…
God must truly grieve about what’s become of the church that professes to follow God’s call. Edmund Steimle had a profound gift for language. One of the most memorable moments for me is where he challenged church leaders to be aware of our focus on the details of what we do, at the expense of listening to and being present to God’s voice in our lives and in our work and in our church leadership.
Who will blow the whistle on the bullshit? (If you are averse to harsh language, maybe it’s time to get over it and speak directly to what’s poisoning our Christian world.)
We tread the waters of apathy while giving space to those who want to take our freedoms from us.
I wrote on Good Friday that it’s time to bury the church. Then, and only then, can the church be resurrected in a new and more vital form.
Here’s what Richard Rohr said about this concept as a personal perspective. For me, it also applies to the church:
“In the passage (Philippians 2:3-8) Paul uses the Greek word kenosis to describe Jesus’ act of self-emptying and surrender. Contemplative prayer is a practice of self-emptying. At its most basic, contemplation is letting go–of our habitual thoughts, preferences, judgments, and feelings. Though life itself is often our most powerful teacher through great love and suffering, contemplation is a daily, small death to false self and ego. It makes space for True Self to reappear, to rise from the ashes of our partial and protected self.” Read the post…
Therefore, it’s time for church leaders, principally clergy, who hold the power of position and influence, to transform and resurrect this institution that has become irrelevant and, more often than not, the opposite of what it’s professed to be.
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that we abandon the institution that we all love (me, too), or turn our backs on the world that needs our thoughtful intervention; I am suggesting, however, that we follow the thinking of the Apostle Paul, who challenged us in the letter to the church in Corinthians, to be transformed by the renewal (renewing, in some translations), speak the truth in love, and live out the culture of love.
Richard Rohr’s message about kenosis, a paradigm shift for thinking, is about the emptying, not only of ourselves, but additionally for the institution of the church.
To transform any organization, the journey begins with self-transformation.
Here are today’s questions:
Who will step into a new leadership role?
What does the new leadership role look like?
How does the pastor step out of doing and into leading and resourcing of leaders?
How do pastors manage conflict instead of avoiding it?
What will happen if church leaders do nothing?
We all play a role. When there’s conflict, we all contribute. When wanting to change how others in any group’s emotional culture behave, one can only change oneself, and then others respond.