on “older” congregations

we shouldn’t be so quick to give up on them.  We need to remember, God often turns up in the seemingly most Godforsaken places.  Roxburgh and Romanuk write in The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) (Jossey-Bass, 2006):

As we have pointed out, God is always turning up in the most forsaken of places.  Throughout Scripture God’s future comes from the bottom up in the most unlikely people and places.  Imagine the people and places with the least potential, and that is where God’s strange future is likely to be found.  Turn to Abram, to Israel about to die in Egypt, to a Gentile woman named Ruth, to a remnant in exile, to an old man keeping his turn in the Temple in Jerusalem where he’s told a son named John will be born to his aged wife.  Turn to a teenage girl [sic] named Mary, to a Cross, and to a band of unlikely men and women who just don’t get what is happening as they hide behind locked doors.  Here, in all these unlikely places, is where God’s future burst forth to change the world.

Today, we give up on congregations that we declare are out of touch with the culture.  We run to big, successful places with marquee name leaders to find out how to be successful.  In so doing we are going in exactly the opposite direction from everything we see in the biblical narratives.  We have forgotten that God’s future often emerges in the most inauspicious of places.  If we let our imagination be informed by this realization, it will be obvious that we need to lead in ways that are different from those of a CEO, and entrepreneur, a super leader with a wonderful plan for the congregation’s life.  Instead we need leaders with the capacity to cultivate an environment that releases the missional imagination of the people of God (20-21).

It will take some time, and a lot of hard work, but a congregation “full of dinosaurs” can be turned around if we just take that time and let the Spirit of God work in the hearts of those in the congregation!

Agree or Disagree?

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3 responses to “on “older” congregations

  1. Brian, may I suggest that God never gives up on older congregations and that they are equally important as a church of generation x y or z people. In fact, although they are old and may not be able to do as much God is just as happy with them as he is with any church. To suggest that these people are dinosaurs or that their church is forsaken is a bit of a slap in the face. I know what you’re trying to say, but I think I disagree. 🙂

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