Turning Around

There’s been a lot of attention given to the
rise of the evangelical church. It’s as if the mainline has been written of.
But I think that’s a mistake. i wouldn’t count them out just
yet.

I’ve just spent several days with people from The United Methodist Church looking at the future. We didn’t gather for a futuring conference, conversation just moved in this direction.

The discussions were deep, honest and straight. I didn’t detect a lot of pretense or hesitation to identify challenges and I certainly identified a desire to address challenges. There wasn’t a lot of “ain’t it awful” talk. In fact, there was no talk like this.

There was realistic discussion of several well-known issues such as the need to reach younger audiences, the need to use the web more effectively, the need to use language that makes messages understandable to people who don’t know religious terminology, and the need to use media. On the whole, this is not the kind of thinking that is tired and without vision. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I didn’t hear defensiveness about the present state of the organization, nor hesitancy to look honestly at it. That’s more than refreshing, it’s healthy.

So, I’m inclined to give this another look sometime down the road because I believe I’m seeing something start to stir that hasn’t been identified yet, and it’s a portent of renewal. It’s a tad bit too early to know for sure, but the kind of assessment and thinking I’ve been hearing is not the kind that leads to stagnation and death, it leads to creativity and openness to new ways of going about the practices of ministry and mission.

If something is stirring, quietly and purposively, we won’t know it for awhile because such movements sometimes don’t get identified until they’re further along the way toward visible activity. This movement is still in its pre-embryonic state. But I think–and feel–something different happening. When I can put a finger on it with more clarity, I’ll say so. Until then, I’m living in hope. Watching. Encouraging. And preparing for a turnaround. There’s something astir.

Join the conversation!

Post a reply in the form below.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image