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Lent 2013, Entry 10 (caught up!)

So, our pastoral staff is reading the book Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love To Attend, by Andy Stanley. As a disclaimer, I’m kind of “meh” about the book for a myriad of reasons that aren’t really necessary to get into here.

Anyway, like with any book, I found some thought provokers that might get some discussion going here at the Diner (and I gotta say I’m a little curious about the lack of comments and such…that’s half the fun of blogging but nobody seems to do that these days. No worries. I’ll write anyway!). So, without further adieu:

z…James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner write: ‘Any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change.’

‘It [graceless religion & legalism] shows up in every generation with a variety of labels, styles, and faces. It has disguised itself as orthodoxy, holiness, morality and conservatism, among others. But when all is said and done, the message is the same: The church is for church people. The church is for those who sign on to a brand and abide by a custom set of rules.

It’s this drift toward churchy, graceless, lifeless church that makes what you do so important. As a church leader, you are mission critical. It is your responsibility to lead the church in the direction that Jesus originally intended. As a leader, your task is to protect the missional integrity of the Jesus gathering to which you have been called.”

“Similarly, every pastor I know is concerned about this alarming number of eighteen to twenty-five-year-olds who drop out of church never to return. But there’s no mystery as to why they drop out. I’m convinced they dropped out because nothing compelled them to stay! The church leaders who are seemingly most concerned about the dropout rate of the demographic are the very ones who create the weekend experiences that this demographic finds entirely uncompelling. To say it another way, the group responsible for the eighteen-to twenty-five-year-olds to local congregations are the catalysts for driving them away. That’s just tragic. They didn’t intend to drive them away. That was not their purpose. But every weekend in this country, something trumps the good intentions and lofty purposes of the average local church. And that something is not theology, intent, or budget. It’s the approach and presentation.”

Okay…plenty there to engage you, so take it wherever you want to. But if you need suggestions:
Do you agree or disagree with the first quote? If so, why do you think people stick with the status quo if the trends in attendance and giving appear in a down cycle in many churches?

On the second quote, do you think that most pastors are “mission critical” or do they run the programs they’re comfortable with? Do you think churches let their function drive their forms, or their forms drive their function? What should that order be?

Finally, what do you see about the “approach and presentation” that is keeping the younger generations from plugging in and/or coming back?

*pours cup of coffee and waits for the patrons to discuss whatever jumps into their brains