Friday, May 21, 2010

Major Changes Happening Now

One of the truly prophetic voices of our time, for culture but especially for the Church, is that of Bishop Will Willimon, who oversees the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church.  I read his most recent blog entry earlier this week, and believe he shares a truth that many are awakening to.  It is the truth that the church is in the midst of possibly the largest transition in the 'ways' of doing and thinking church since the Reformation of the 1500s.  And before that, since possibly the Apostles stood on that mount and watched as Jesus ascended into heaven.

His entry in its entirety can be read here, Major Moves in Ministry.   I highly recommend taking a few minutes and digesting it.  But I offer his five points about the moves churches are called to make, in brief right now:
  • Move from caregivers to passionate, transformative leaders
  • Move from contented church of monopoly, to church in competitive, missional environment
  • Move from nonchalance about results to attentiveness to results
  • Move from preservation and sustaining to adaptation and supple, flexibility
  • Move from the pastor as head of an organization to the pastor as spiritual leader and congregational catalyst
His point, driven home by repetition, is beautifully true: God's Church is called to be moving and active.  Of course, many of our churches are active, only it is the sort of exhaustive activity that is focused on programs, events, and calendars.  Willimon here is calling for us to actively engage in a thought-filled, Spirit-led process of change from one way of being to another.

Such lofty ideas are not-within easy reach.  But then again, nothing that is worth chasing ever is.  But imagine what our churches would like like - who we would attract, what suffering we could alleviate, what fractures we could repair - if we even made a little progress.  We are called to be about ushering in the Kingdom of God.  I believe it will happen through the efforts of churches on such a journey.

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