• Should We Close the Church?

    Take a look at this graph.

    It shows church attendance over the last 17 years. It’s a steady trend that shows America is going to church less.

    Then COVID hit.

    And we in the church business learned, as Carey Nieuhoff puts it, that crisis is not just a disrupter it’s an accelerator. 
    This means that our churchgoing trend has been accelerated as congregations have scrambled to put in place alternate worship and ministry models - and as many churchgoers consciously or unconsciously have thought, ‘Well, the building’s closed, so the church must be closed too.’

    So today, as we all wait with hope for a vaccine, increased testing, and a world that goes ‘back to normal,’ in the back of our minds we know that, ‘back to normal’ will never happen.

    Just look at these major industries that COVID has changed and ask:
    Work - Do we really think everyone’s going to go back to a rented office?
    School - is it ALL going to be in person again?
    Fitness - Will everyone quit working out in the basement and return to the gym?
    Dining - Will take-out and drive-thru disappear?
    Shopping - Will everyone really close their laptops and go back to the mall?
    Church - Do I really need to go in person to get my spiritual needs met?

    This make us think: What will get people to offices, classrooms, gyms, restaurants, malls, and churches?
    It will be a clear and compelling reason for making the effort.

    This Sunday you and I will hear Jesus talk about Judgment Day - when those who talked a good game are separated from those who actually played a good game.

    This is a stark challenge for the Church to get out and play the game - and to play a game worth watching.

    Churches that are truly making a difference in people’s lives - who are feeding the poor, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and effectively helping people deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ - those are churches that will ‘make it.’

    This is also true on the granular level - when we are people who are feeding the poor, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and effectively helping ourselves and others deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ - this is how we make it.

    So let us be challenged, encouraged, and comforted to BE the church - knowing that every act that we take to move outside of ourselves and to heal the world, not only helps our hearts - but the heart of Jesus’ movement - the Church. 

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    St. David's Episcopal Church, 16200 W. Twelve Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076 USA




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