The Modern Neighborhood Church
The church I attend now is not my parents church, or my grandparents church. I think it is quite modern. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But it suits me well. It allows me to continue to grow, and to linger in the presence of God. Church reform and change is not new. Jesus was Jewish. There are a lot of rules in the Torah, and in the first five books of the old Testament. Jesus changed some of the rules. He ignored some of the old rules. He grew impatient with those who got really wrapped up in the rules and lost track of the main thing. The first Church in the book of Acts was in people's homes, it was small and grew and faced difficulties. If people in the book of Acts had not invited other people to join in prayer and study, the church would have died in that first 100 years. Inviting other people to share in the fellowship of the church is absolutely crucial to its longevity and growth. The church became more than a few informal prayer gatherings here and there, it became an institution. The Catholic church was born. Then in the 1600's things changed again. Martin Luther brought us grace by justification and Protestant religion had a new (but based in Catholicism) set of rules. Shortly after the Baptists came into being and then John Wesley brought us Methodism. Interestingly enough, the Catholics and the Protestants have often been at odds and even at war over the decades. And yet, they share the core belief and basis is that Jesus Christ is the son of God, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, dead and buried. The third day he rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and from there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. Most believe in the Holy Spirit, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and in life everlasting. Whatever we fight over isn't even the main thing. Because that creed is the main thing right there. The modern church will change. We must invite new people all the time, every week. We must love one another. It was the last commandment Jesus gave the disciples at the last supper (a Seder). A new generation waits to find God. Each generation seems fairly certain they want to live their lives without the rules of their fathers. But they will set their own rules. Goodness know the Lutheran church has rules just like the Catholic church. The important thing is to open your church to be modern. Love the new seekers coming to visit. Invite them. Allow them to be part of the process in bringing your church to this new transition. God transforms each of us. We are not the same today as we were yesterday, or twenty years ago. Be open to change. I truly hope to see growth in neighborhood churches. I personally want to be a catalyst in this area and inspire people to pray for, plan and execute this growth and change.
- Pray for your church, hold a prayer vigil.
- Start a grass roots marketing plan, invite people in your neighborhood, have a hour of prayer once a week for a year.
- Shine your light. Love the new people that come, embrace change and new ideas. Open your minds and your church for tremendous new growth. Find those seekers and let God work.
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