. . . but it’s true.
Ignoring reality and pulling the covers over my head will get me and churches in the South NO WHERE. . . fast.
Churches in the Southern Baptist Convention are declining and dying.
The next generation of millennials are different.
Therefore, what has worked will not continue to work. If you keep doing what you’ve always done. . .
Tony Morgan has spent a lot of effort helping churches get ‘unstuck.’
He recently wrote this about preaching:
“Truth be told, I’m guessing most people have already forgotten whatever you preached about a few weeks ago. And, another group of people wasn’t even at the service where you addressed that critical topic. If there’s any lasting impact to a message or series, it’s because systems or disciplines have been implemented and embraced that lead to change. The next steps have to be obvious.
The problem is it’s a lot easier to preach a message or create a series than it is to shape systems that produce healthy changes in organizations and in people’s lives.”
I don’t like that.
There is a part of me that cries out, “HERESY!”
But there is another part that tells my heart how true his words are. . .
Morgan isn’t arguing that preaching is useless, or shouldn’t be done. . . he is arguing that healthy systems are crucial to the ongoing, overall health of a church. Too often we preachers spend a lot of time on hearty sermons and very little time on healthy systems.
Add to this something he wrote in another article. He made this very insightful and (I believe) critical claim:
“Instead of blaming young adults for not engaging in our ministries, it’s about time we start taking some responsibility. Our strategies and systems are broken. The Gospel message doesn’t need to change, but the methods we use to reach people for Jesus has to reflect our current environment.”
That last sentence is one of the most important non-biblical sentences I have read in a long, long time: “The Gospel message doesn’t need to change, but the methods we use to reach people for Jesus has to reflect our current environment.”
Rick Warren says that churches who do not want to grow are saying to the world, “you can go to hell.”
I don’t know of a church that would ever ACTUALLY say that. But could our refusal to think and plan and strategize and dream and arrange things ‘beyond the norm’ be a way of saying, “We would rather you go to hell than change”?
I don’t like thinking that sometimes just preaching may not work.
But I also don’t like the thought of my kids being adults in a churchless South.
Perhaps the revival that needs to happen in our churches is a renewed Spirit among ‘church’ people to do whatever it takes – and I mean whatever – to impact the next generation with the Gospel. Perhaps the Spirit of God is working in unbelieving Millennials. The question for the church is: “How would we know if He is?”
“The Gospel message doesn’t need to change, but the methods we use to reach people for Jesus has to reflect our current environment.”
What do you think??? Any opinions out there?