So now I am back to the story. After I had taken the ten weeks to assess the church, I met with the Elders and the other leaders of the church. I told them some of my thoughts but I did not show all my cards right away. I decided to hold back a little until I had a better working knowledge of them. I also wanted the whole church to hear my expectations and know what my vision of this church is at the same time. I didn’t want to give anyone a sneak preview of my sermon series. I told them that I would like all of my sermons recorded on a cd so we can make them available for anyone who may want them. One thing I was sure of, I had to change the culture of the church, and it was going to be a harsh reality to some.
I expected to lose some people, possibly even some of the leadership. I expected resistance and I expected people to go elsewhere to attend church. I was calling out the church and asking them to break away from their complacency. What I saw was not a good foundation for building a church because too many people were Sunday morning space-eaters. I suspected that most were content to sit in church and hope they had limited contact with anyone. Unfortunately, a cold church can be renamed a dead church. I refused to preside over the funeral rites of any church.
Why do I believe that this church has been stagnant for too long? All you have to do is listen and observe. Even over a ten week period it is possible to assess and reach a conclusion about the state of the church. The people in the church lacked fire, lacked a passion for the gospel. They would all show up on Sunday, mime their way through the service, and disperse once the last note rang into the sanctuary, some didn’t even wait that long. There were a handful of people who did what they could to sustain the health of the church but five people trying to effect change is difficult without some of type of support from the pulpit.
Someone had to poke the hornet’s nest. Someone had to make everyone uncomfortable. Someone had to cause people to squirm in their seats as they listened to the sermon. Someone needed to push the buttons that caused a reaction. People in general don’t want to get involved. They like being able to be shadows, they are there but are not really consisting of any kind of substance. Church was not meant to be a building, it was meant to be a community. A church is not made of brick, mortar, plaster and wood, it is made of flesh and blood and bone. A church is meant to be alive with the life-giving power of the gospel. I was going to disturb the hornet’s nest and I was prepared to be stung a few times.