Tony Morgan posted a blog earlier this week titled "20 Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Church in America" that did exactly what he intended. It was like petting the fur on a cat backward. . .not smooth, and irritating to the cat.
But it was truth that needed to be said.
Maybe it's that our generation is one that has great difficulty with status quo and "going through the motions" but I find many formerly young (at age 46, as a pastor friend told me yesterday, I'm too old to be young and hip and too young to be old, so I'm just. . .46) pastors struggling with the machine known as church and wondering if anyone is asking the hard quetions any longer.
So, inspired by Tony, here are some thoughts on the American church that have been ruminating for years in my crowded head. . .
- The church that advertises it's "for families" needs to stop separating every family member from others once they arrive on the campus.
- Why must Wednesday services/activities/events be a total of 3-4 hours long? It's the middle of the week. People need to go to work on Thursday. Kids need to go to school. Homework has to be done. This schedule is killer.
- Churches call a lot of things missions which are not.
- Churches call a lot of things missional which are not.
- Churches like churchy words.
- Many churches have a social media presence, but they're terrible at using them effectively.
- Churches know silo ministries are deadly, but we've done them for so long, it's hard to think differently.
- We know the "scorecard" is flawed, but we keep using the same one.
- Some people do not need to sing solos at church (or in karaoke bars, either.) This is because we live in the age where the first week of American Idol is littered with a few singers and a lot who think they can sing, our crowds (which should be congregations) often become mini-Simon Cowells (or whomever took his place.) Therefore, bad singing becomes a distraction rather than an invitation to worship.
- We like to let others worship for us.
- Just because the music is loud, doesn't mean it's good.
- Just because the music is soft and traditional, doesn't mean it's good.
- Singing in church to a CD track is a good option, but to the unchurched, it's still bad karaoke.
- Why do churches still vote whether or not to make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission?
- American churches like to send teams to Christians in other places to show them how to do church rather than serve and make disciples.
- People get to work on time all week long and kids get to school on time for five days, but on Sunday mornings, the start time is still viewed as a suggestion for many.
- For many, the music and worship that begins the corporate worship service is like the previews and trailers shown prior to a movie. It's good, but okay if you miss it.
- We decry the cultural obsession of creating celebrities, but do the same thing with prominent pastors and singers.
- We like to host concerts and other entertainment events and call them ministry or evangelistic rallies to make us feel better about hosting these in church buildings.
- We let people retire from ministry.
- We celebrate things that do not matter while ignoring the life-changing service some are experiencing.
- We love God and love America and sometimes we mix up which one is to be worshipped.
- Until churches integrate their leadership, they won't reach continually growing diverse communities.
- Disciples are made through strategic relationships, not in large groups. So, to be better at "making disciples" the integrity of the small groups needs to be guarded as more vital for health.
- God is doing some amazing things in and through the churches in America. Nostalgia makes many believe the best days are behind us. That simply is not true.
- We sometimes confuse "winning the lost" with "winning an argument" and spend too much time on the latter and lose the first.