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Dear Church, I happen to be one of those millennials you keep reading about. I don’t think you really know me. Let me tell you a few things.

Source: Dear Church: An open letter from one of those millennials you can’t figure out • Ponder Anew

One to ponder.

Many churches are just a few years away from dying and closing. Revitalization is an urgent need.

Source: Eight Common Characteristics of Successful Church Revitalizations

hipster jesus

Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’ – The Washington Post.

Rachel Held Evans nails it again. Authenticity trumps cool for millennials.

bible

Are Christians Scheming Swindlers? – Bible Study and the Christian Life.

Another fascinating article that I want to come back to and say more. However, this Kierkegaard quote sums it up.

Søren Kierkegaard, the nineteenth-century Danish philosopher, commented on this disconnect between belief and practice, “The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?”3

5 reasons why young people are seeking old ways of doing church. | Church in a Circle.

Its an ongoing trend that I need to ponder more.

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The Most Disturbing Trend Happening in Your Church in 2015 – Trending Christian Blog.

Specifically, in the last 2 years, I have see one common thread become a common rope. Its presence is now ubiquitous; every church I talk with mentions this problem…. I have never seen a problem discussed this commonly amid a diversity of church sizes and denominational affiliations.

“What is this one trend? It’s that your most committed people will attend worship services less frequently than ever in 2015. [Emphasis added.]

“What does this mean? Simply that people who use[d] to attend 4 times a month may only attend 3 times a month. Members who used to come twice a month will only come once a month.”

It is making weekly worship attendance a less relevant figure as you may have the same number of active people in other aspects of congregational life but in weekly worship, you now see up to 20% less people in the pews than three years ago.

church

When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can “Bring In Young Families” . . . | achurchforstarvingartists.

For those who still follow Wired Jesus, recent months have involved several hacks of the site since “the big one” of a year ago. I’m planning on a relaunch in May/June of Wired Jesus 2.0, complete with podcast and postings.

In the meantime, now that the malware problems seems to be settled, I will play around with WordPress and post articles that I want to remember and are worth sharing to other pastors and people who desire a future for the North American Church, knowing its not going to look like the last forty years.

This article is spot on. Not only has the pastor profile dream wish of “someone who can bring in young families” unrealistic, it really never has been because the reasoning is wrong. Why do you want young families? How does that square with the Great Commission? It doesn’t work in dying mainline congregations that are aging out of existence. It doesn’t work on the pomo dream church that is dying as a monogenerational phase. Frankly, it doesn’t work in the megachurch world, which is losing membership as well.

Word of advice. Congregations looking for new pastors would be well served by reading this article and taking it to heart, particularly the following paragraphs. If you want a future for ministry that serves Jesus, you have to commit to living in the future, not in your past, and not even in your present concerns and complaints. Be the church for broken people like Jesus lived where you now live and know that you are going to have to die – die to what you are now, the baggage you are still determined to carry, the control you still want to have. That has to go to the cross if you want a pastor who will walk with you to resurrection rather than congregational savior that can’t live up to your dying expectations.

Words to ponder for Lent indeed.

Young families are great. Old families are great. Families made up of child-free couples are great. Families of single people are great. Imagine if every church simply wanted A Pastor Who Could Bring In Broken People. Now that’s a church.

Also, the days are gone when Young Families were present in worship every Sunday. The statistics are in about how the definition of “regular worship” has changed since the 1950s. (“Regular” used to mean weekly. Now it means once or twice a month.)

Instead of seeking a Pastor who can bring in those vaunted Young Families, we need to call a Pastor who knows how to shift congregational culture. The culture in which we live and move and have our being has changed, but we are killing ourselves trying to maintain a dated congregational culture.

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 2 | john pavlovitz.

And here we go.

We’re so weary of feeling like nothing more than a religious agenda; an argument to win, a point to make, a cause to defend, a soul to save.

We want to be more than a notch on your Salvation belt; another number to pad your Twitter posts and end-of-year stat sheets.

We need to be more than altar call props, who are applauded and high-fived down the aisle, and then forgotten once the song ends.

We’ve been praying for you to stop evangelizing us, and preaching at us, and fighting us, and judging us, and sin-diagnosing us, long enough to simply hear us…

… even if we are the problem.

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 1 | john pavlovitz.

We’re the ones walking away.
We want to matter to you.
We want you to hear us before you debate us.

Show us that your love and your God are real.

Church, give us a reason to stay.

Fascinating. I’m watching for part 2.

shooting

How We All Miss the Point on School Shootings.

The whole issue of guns, violence, and schools is, if you pardon the word, explosive. In society and among faith leaders, how we should respond to such evil is a quick route to arguments and social positions. Another Lutheran pastor I know posted this article and I agree with what is said here – in the end, this is a mental health issue, a relational issue, one that touches the heart of the Christian faith – theodicy. Mental illness and evil have often been tied together and I think its easier to rail against the symptoms – gun availability, gender issues, bullying, etc… but never really deal with the killers in the way this article does. Challenging.

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