Recently I spoke with a staff member of a small membership church. Because I've known him for a long time, I asked how things were going. He responded saying that the church was out of the way so membership was dwindling; there were no youth and only a few children. (And that was on a good Sunday.) The church was doing absolutely nothing as far as mission and he expected it to die soon, because the aging membership wouldn't be able to keep things going much longer.
Naturally, I shook my head in sympathy. But as I drove home this thought occurred to me; that church is only 10 minutes away from thousands of people. Not only that, there is a brand new subdivision with upscale homes just down the road. Maybe at one time the church was "out of the way," but not any more. And our church has people driving by his church to come to ours. So people will drive to go to church.
Then I remembered what he said about the church doing "absolutely nothing as far as mission." With that thought, my sympathy morphed into anger. What would you expect when a church acts like it is invisible to the community? And to think that he accepted all this as though nothing could be done about it. Or maybe he'd given up.
A very sad commentary on Christianity in some churches today. But whose's responsibility is it to wake up this church and its staff? The pastor's and/or staff's? The lay leadership? The District Superintendent's? The bishop's?
Whoever it is, one thing is clear, the people related to this church are not opening their hearts to God. Because this is a spiritual issue and not an organizational or programmatic problem. You cannot tell me that God doesn't want that church, or any church, in mission and ministry beyond its own walls. The church is the Body of Christ--a living, breathing group of faithful believers. Sounds like this church has cut itself off from the Body and is dead already. Just remember Jesus' warning to the unfruitful fig tree.
What would you do if this was your church? Or has it been your church already?