Thursday, July 29, 2010

Out of Touch

I have had a cup of ice water poured directly in my lap recently.

It came in the form of an article distributed by The Office of Research of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.

The article claims that nearly half of the population of the United States is “out of touch with church” –

Meaning –“These folks are unreceptive and closed to attending church and churchgoing is simply not on their agenda.”


For the last several decades the church has (rightly or wrongly) targeted “seekers:” people who were interested or curious about God and a relationship with Christ and His church, but not “in” yet.

Now even the population of seekers is dwindling
And the fastest growing demographic is

Not people who have been hurt by a church
and have vowed never to return
Not people who have never had a church connection
Not people who are “spiritual just not religious”


That is pretty sobering

One question that was not addressed in the article
Is why?
Why are more and more people becoming unreceptive and closed?
I have some guesses
But I think the whole truth is that the answers to the why questions
Are as varied and different as the people who can truthfully and thoughtfully answer them.

The good news is that
Who have either seen this coming
Or experienced it themselves,
Have created expressions of the church like
“Missional church”
Or “emerging church”
Or “Fresh Expressions”

The bad news
For some
Is that we must wake up to the reality
That we
The church
Especially mainline
Sometimes called
Continue to do the same things we have done for the last
Few years
The last few decades
The last fifty years
The last century
And expect to effectively reach people
And make disciples of Jesus Christ
For the transformation of the world

The question is now
Are we willing to do be different for the sake of the kingdom?

Are we willing to take risks we have never taken
Are we willing to go to places we don’t usually go
Are we willing to meet people we don’t know
Are we willing to do things we have never done
If it means that we will reach someone with the love of God
Who is

Or maybe the question ought to be
Who is really out of touch?

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