The Church: Where We Are Going - 10/21/2012

Sermon text:  Matthew 16:13‐20

   I just happened upon a blog on the internet written by John B. Abela.  Abela, who writes regularly on the Christianblog.com, falls into the category I mentioned last week, the “Nones,” which is the second largest category at 19.33% of the population, just behind the Catholics. John is a 30 something, single guy, with no church affiliation … who maintains he is still religious regardless. On his blog, posted May 9, 2008, he addresses the question being asked by so many people these days, and his response typifies the sediment of those who have found themselves disillusioned with “organized religion.” John writes:

   What will the church look like in 10 years?
   For each generation, what the church is today is no good.
   For my generation, “organized religion” is becoming more and more undesirable, and this can surely only increase for each generation after mine. As the world continues to spiral faster and faster, organized religion is doomed greater and greater without a major intervention, and thus the church itself.
   Personally, I am tired of Programs.
   I don’t want any more new theologies.
   I don’t want to be preached at with sermons that were barely relevant 30 or 100 years ago.
   I don’t want the same old things rewrapped in a new package.
   Surely somebody, some pastor somewhere, can find something of value with the Great Book, and find a way to make it relevant to me, one would think?
   As for the generations following me, it will only get worse.
   They will want a real life experience of the power of God.
   They will want truth in action, not truth in teachings.
   They will want love in action, not love in sermons.
   They will want a move of God, not just a ‘move of God’ talked about.
   They will want the Bible spoken, taught, and lived out – and in a way that the church hasn’t seen for hundreds of year, and likely never here in America.
   The church of America in the present generation, and more so in the ones to come, are going to want a passion, a truth, a burning desire – like what we see in China, South America and South Korea right now!
   The ‘Church of America’ has become little more then an ‘upper blue-collar/white-collar’ “Sunday Thing” that is expected of people to be done.
   It is no longer a living entity that many people have a burning passion to be a part of.
   It has lost its power for the sake of properness.
   The church of today would rather have its “T’s” crossed and its “I’s” dotted then worry about what’s happening out-side of their own doors!
   ….
   Too many churches say, “Were doing our part to reach this town/community”.
   But too many of those churches cannot even work together (with other churches) to even put together a basic plan to reach their community.
    As for the people on the streets… that is what they see.
   They are not so blind as to NOT see what we ourselves are blinded of.
   The church, in a way, has had too much “in-breeding”. In an age where “church growth” is not “true growth” but “transfer growth”, what else can we call it?
   Until the people IN the church see what the people OUTSIDE the church already see, the people OUTSIDE the church are simply not going to set foot INSIDE the church! …
Read full sermon here (PDF)