That statistic should not surprise. It no doubt elicits a reaction ….
- Churches are closing because people are lazy
- Churches are closing because Pastor’s don’t get it
- Churches are closing because they don’t stand for anything any more
- Churches are closing because they take a stand on everything
- Churches are closing because they are out of step with culture
- Churches are closing because they march lock step with culture
And here is one different perspective. Churches are closing. Period. And our role is not to excessively worry about churches closing or seek fast ways to attach blame for their failure, which, in the end always seem to leave us on the right side and others on the wrong. Our role is to serve the suffering of the world with the invaluable gifts we have been given. “Church” then settles into the heart and the hands. “Church” is more than an institution for public worship. It is in a certain sense not an institution at all. It is, as Henry James noted, divine life in mankind.
Organizations like churches are important. They give us an invaluable tool for collecting resources and support and connection. Through worship, they settle our hearts into the humble place where humanity flourishes and hopes arise. And from there with resources, support and connection in hand, we draw alongside of suffering, hand in hand with God, and we build the church.