Wednesday, April 16, 2008

There Will Be Blood

A pastor friend in another state is dealing with a major conflict. The church he pastors has decided to close a Christian school that has been meeting in church facilities for 40 years. This has provoked anger from parents, several church members, and some individuals in the local community. Of course, the media has jumped on this and publicized the dissension. Why did the church make the decision? I am sure that were many factors involved, but one was that the school no longer reflected or furthered the mission of the church.

If we have not personally been afflicted with cancer, we know someone who has. The person is diagnosed with the big "C" and is usually offered a regimen of treatment. The treatment is not easy. It is often long, painful, and draining. Given the options, however, the person reluctantly agrees to try the treatment. People who go through this are heroes to me.

The church finds itself in the same situation. Many churches need to make decisions about their future--hard decisions, painful decisions. Some ministries must be changed or dropped, new approaches adopted, facilities must be adapted or sold, and some "sacred cows" must be slain. Will this be easy? No. Will it be pretty? Not very. Will it make some people angry? Probably.

This is where the institutional church stands at the beginning of the 21st century. It is a time for heroes. It is a time for leaders to gather faithful, discerning people around them and discern God's leadership. Of course, not all heroes survive the hero's journey. The treatment can be destructive. Such tasks are not for the faint of heart. Some will fall in the quest. But the goal is worthy--becoming part of the Kingdom of God that is breaking in upon us.

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