Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why is the Church So Messed Up? or "What the 'Reveal Study' Shows Us"

This, from "Blog Rodent" Rich Tatum is a must-read for church leaders. Since it relates the the big changes at Willow Creek, the post may seem a bit late in coming, but read on. Thank you, Rich, for nailing it. What do we do about it? Can we do anything?


Ruth said...

People don't want to do anything about it. If we were to truly have relational churches then we'd be dealing with messes all the time. People's lives would be exposed for what they really were rather than what they wish they were. Someone might actually have to knowingly and lovingly interact with a person who was (your choice: Democrat/Republican, an alcoholic/drug user, gay, abused, etc.) while admitting their own areas of failure (pride, self-reliance, self-righteousness, christi-ology rather than Christ-like, etc.) Hard to admit one isn't perfect and accept that someone who obviously isn't may actually be as loved by God as you are.

Frankly, I'm *hungry* for teaching and real, honest relationships but I'm not ready for people who are avoraciously waiting like vultures to grab any part of my reality that I might share so they can preen themselves on how *they* wouldn't be like that.

I'm afraid of churches. I want what they should offer, but don't. I'm happier in Al-anon than I've ever been in any church.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Ruth, I believe that there ARE churches who are dealing with messes all the time. I know I am. Just one family as example: He was a long-time alchohol abuser and then alcoholic, wife was suicidal, drug addicted, but both were believers and both came to church...she ended up in jail, later in a mental health facility, kids have had problems, but a group of us just sent one of them off to basic training with hugs and prayer. The other was taken from the family when mom was in jail, and later we helped her with her action to get him back. None of this was neat or clean. But they are loved, and they know it. Not bragging on us, my dear friend, just saying that there ARE Christians who act like Christians. I just hope our little church survives, frankly, because if not it will be a significant loss. (((R)))) I'm glad for Al Anon, and pray you continue to be blessed and healed. I wish we could have talked...I have lots to tell you, some bad and some good.

Ruth said...

I'm glad your church is one of the good ones. I can remember Pastor Dave talking about growing a church small. He was talking about getting to the real people in the church not those interested in churchianity but true Christ-like living. Maybe yours is one like that?

Rich Tatum said...

Thanks, Dorcas, for your very gracious reference to my post, and for the link-love!


Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

I think small can be good. There are advantages to bigger, of course, but I am not a fan of the mega church mentality. Growth, or course, but then divide. Or, as Rich noted in his post, the optimal size for a living organism may vary. I know that at Jubilee we do well to stay the same size. Considering the demographics, the numbers of people leaving town, and so on, maintaining does not mean we are stagnant. There are other issues (sigh) as you know. But lack of heart and desire to be like Jesus is not one of them.

Diane M. Roth said...

This is REALLY good, singing owl. Wow. I keep thinking, that my little churches in South Dakota did a better job of discipling that mine here. And that smaller churches generally do a better job with discipleship because they are more relationship-oriented. and the bit about the one-room schoolhouse is Excellent! My aunt and mom grew up going to a one room schoolhouse, and my aunt is convinced that is the way to go in education, but everyone thinks that it can't be done.

The one thing I like about my bigger church: there are more children. But we are not large like the very large churches in the outer suburbs. People are all jazzed and energized by the hundreds of kids in those sunday schools and youth programs, but are they being discipled? and more important, are the PARENTS?