So Many Churches?

Maybe what we need isn’t another church, but simply a better church.

Here’s the trouble though: However well-intentioned, most of young leaders think that the way to get a better church is to start one. At least that’s what I thought – and am continually tempted to think.

Rather than do the hard work of internal reconciliation, many young leaders seem quick to abandon ship. A little disappointment here or there, and we’re racing off the next thing – sexier, hipper, more in line with our preconceptions about what church ought to be.

Let’s imagine a different scenario: rather than re-inventing the wheel, what if those young leaders buckled down and committed to using their gifts and ideas to be a catalyst for change and rebirth? Think of the resources that would save. Think of the relationships that could be mended. Think of the testimony to a hurting community. That seems to be a better story – more in line with the way of Jesus.

Yes, there are absolutely occasions to call it quits. Abuse. Manipulative or hardened leadership. And there are also plenty of reasons for church planting. But I get the sense that we’re often more discontent than we’d like to admit.

Here’s a brief sketch:

A better church isn’t necessarily a sexier church.
A better church isn’t necessarily one that you like.
A better church isn’t trying to impress you.
A better church doesn’t play “the right kind” of music.
A better church doesn’t look a certain way.

A better church shows you how to be like Jesus.
A better church has the courage to call you out.
A better church knows who you are – and loves you.
A better church may let you fall, but helps to pick you up.
A better church builds relationships through forgiveness.

What you think: Are there too many churches? Why is that?

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4 thoughts on “So Many Churches?

  1. Could it be that the younger leaders aren’t exactly welcome around the places that need the greatest change? If a place needs that much work (and we know the kind of places they are), are the powers likely to listen to the well-meaning 25 year-old? In, turn, the young leader feels under-cared-for, under-loved, and under-utilized? And our unused zeal fizzles out…?

    • True true true. Community has to be a two-way street. Another question (just ideating :) “At what point does faith come into play with the use of gifts?” Phrased another way: when to move? vs. when to wait?

    • I think part of it may be trying to match a need to a calling. If a young person just comes in and says, “Here I am, listen to these ideas,” he’s probably not going to get very far. But if he takes the time to learn what the church recognizes as a need, he may find that his gifts and ideas could fill that need. At that point, he can approach the powers, introduce himself, and say, “You mentioned that you have these needs, and I have an idea on how to meet them.” If he addresses a problem the church already acknowledged existed, and if he offers a solution, the powers may be more willing to hear him out, thereby providing him with a starting point for improvement.

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