I'm no carpenter, but I do have a couple of toolboxes in my garage. One I inherited from my grandfather, who was a carpenter. The other I was given when I got married and have been adding tools to it throughout the years.
The frustrating thing when little home repairs or needs come up is needing a tool and discovering I don't have the tool designed for the job.
Church is like this. For years, we have been trying to use tools in an old toolbox, not designed for the job that needs to be done. This results in frustration among churches and leaders.
For example, for years we have relied on older evangelism strategies designed for a modern culture that presupposes such a thing as truth. Dr. Voddie Baucham made it pretty clear in one of his studies that we need to shelve many of our traditional evangelism strategies and engage in pre-evangelism first. Now, the plan of salvation has not changed, but in this postmodern world where there is no agreement regarding absolute truth, new strategies must be used.
I truly believe that the traditional Sunday School organizational structure that has been used for decades is needing an overhaul. I am a religious educator at heart, so I know how Sunday School should be organized, the rule of "Flake's Formula" and have even led the training in these strategies for churches throughout the state of Florida. However, with the culture shifts we are seeing, it appears that small groups meeting in homes, restaurants and other locations have the potential of growing in popularity.
I'm not for getting rid of Sunday School, but I am for broadening our understanding of when and where it can be done. I'm not sure how all this is going to play out. For new church starts, it's easier to start with home groups. With traditional churches with organizational structures already in place, the shift in thinking is more difficult.
Our church currently is in the midst of this shift. At our main campus, the traditional Sunday morning schedule prevails. At our new satellite campus, the potential for a new way of ministry is evident.
I'm not sure how this is all going to play out. I could name many other tools that seem dated and ineffective. The danger is "throwing away the baby with the bath water" which is not any church's desire.
Truly, these are exciting times to be the church of God.