Monday, June 15, 2015

The Possibility of Failure

More and more research reveals the decline in church membership in the United States. American culture in the past reinforced (for the most part) a Christian worldview. There was prayer in school. Most people attended church because it was the culturally accepted thing to do on Sundays. Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights were typically set apart for people to attend church functions.

None of this is true today. We do not have prayer in school. Attending church is not the culturally accepted thing to do. Homework, work hours, and sports events are now common on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. We do indeed live in a post-Christian society. The church has been increasingly marginalized from mainstream culture. This is not new information or even shocking at this point.

However, it seems most Christians are really struggling with this new reality. They see this information as completely bad news. And yes, some of it is bad, but there is much good that can come from living in a post-Christian society. The church for a long time relied on the culture to do its job. The church could expect to grow based on population rate. We didn't really have to evangelize because we could expect people to attend church because their parents did. We didn't have to disciple our own children because the schools and culture did it for us.

The church cannot rely on the culture anymore. We must once again do the hard work of being witnesses for Christ: sharing our faith, loving our neighbor, serving the least of these. We must be willing to take risks and face the possibility of failure. Maintaining the status quo will no longer work. We will have to learn, grow, and step out of our comfort zones. This won't be easy. The church in America has been spoiled. In some cases we've gotten lazy. We'll need to have faith. We'll need to pray more. I may be young and naive, but I think this could be really good for the church.