1. Too many churches love past culture more than their current context. We are a nostalgic people. But, what we look back to is when things were good for us and when our own way of life was affirmed by the culture and our churches. But, we should love what God is doing now more than what happened in the past. We can rejoice in what God did in the past while embracing the present and journeying with him into the future. We have to look ahead to where God is going as He brings reconciliation to the world.
2. Too many churches love their comfort more than their mission. We often think about what is best for us instead of what ministers the gospel to people. We cannot share Christ with people effectively without suffering and sacrifice. Our desire should not be to seek after our own comfort but to seek God's glory. Pain and loss are always involved. But, why are we here? Why do our churches exist? For our comfort or for God's glory? He will comfort us as we give all to Him in Mission. We forgot that a long time ago and now that the culture has fully shifted against us, the results are painfully obvious.
3. Too many churches love their traditions more than their children. We think about how to perpetuate our own comfort rather than what will enable our children to grow in the fear and admonition of The Lord. One approach has been for people to shelter their children and keep them away from the World. That works for a while, but eventually, you have to face the World you live in. A better way is to nurture and guide our children into missional engagement with the world so that they will lay their lives down for God and other people.
America is still a very religious, spiritual country. Christianity is still strong here. But, the ways that we are not in line with Scripture regarding seeking after our own comfort, trying to promote our own culture/traditions, and clinging to the past and what worked for us years ago are now beginning to come to light. I am not saying that new methods are the answer. We need to adhere to a timeless faith rooted in the Person of Christ and the unchanging Word of God. I am not calling for unthinking innovation. I am calling for recognition of the massive shift fully underway, the effect it is and will continue to have on Southern Baptists, and how the time for streamlining, downsizing, and realignment for missional effectiveness is now absolutely upon us. We must see churches re-planted and churches begun anew. I would love to see churches full of Senior Adults with great facilities reshape themselves and replant by inviting teams of church planters to come alongside them and become ministry centers and ethnic church plant incubators. There are so many possibilities. We must be led by the Spirit and grab hold of what God is doing in the world today.
God is at work. Christ is victorious. I am excited about the future, but recognize that to step into it, we have to move on from where we are and follow the Holy Spirit.