Just some random thought that was weaving through my mind all day...
So for most people within a church, having to close the doors of that church and sell the building is a tragedy. It would be like losing a home and being fired on your birthday.
It carried tremendous stigma of defeat: Were they not spiritual enough? was God punishing them? What about the Pastor? Did he do his job right? What would everyone else think? You failed!
I've experienced losing a responsibility within a church and it feels like having to accept death itself; a sinking feeling like "it's all over"... I can't imagine losing the church itself.
But even in my own, small experience, I realize that it wasn't the end - it was the beginning. God had to cut some ties in order to move me because I was too deeply rooted. And He had other plans - definitely other church organizations He wanted me to see. In God I also learned that He can demote me and He can promote me, and "it ain't over till ... we're in heaven!" Sometimes we feel, at a point of loss, like we'll never mount up to that height again - and if we lived by FAITH instead, we would realize that we needed to get off the stool to climb the ladder, proverbially! All in His timing, of course. But I'm slowly learning that the past (and more specifically, the failures in the past) don't need to walk around behind me, kicking me in the rear for the rest of my journey... unless I allow it.
In Christ, the past really doesn't matter. We're the ones who are attached to it for sentimental reasons. He's more concerned with our present and our future than with our history.
So thinking in a bit of a grander scale, with the condition of the body of Christ in America as a whole.... the tragedy of all the churches that are dying... the lack of true Biblical growth we are experiencing... I don't know. I wonder if we have it all wrong.
Does it really matter to God whether you have a band and some mics for praise and worship? Is He less satisfied with an acoustic guitar in someone's living room?
Is it absolutely essential for the pastor to have a tie and a pulpit? Would he fail God if all he had was his Bible, a passion for God's Word, and an understanding of it?
Is God as attached to our programs as we are?
Do we attend and do church for the routine, or for the fellowship? And is God as impressed with our Sunday Morning show as He is with the relationship we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ?
I have concluded that the tragedy of a dying church is that all it's members split, go separate ways, and stop talking to the people they have had fellowship with on Sunday for the previous couple of years. The biggest tragedy is that it usually involves a big, nasty scandal to bring a church back to the basics.
I pray we wake up to the true definition of "church" and see that its the network of believers that define it, not the denomination or building. We need to go back to the basics voluntarily. We need to identify the needs and the wants, the must haves and the bonuses of what we are doing and get it right... soon! Procrastination is bringing us closer to a much greater problem: the lack of faith in the church as a whole!