If you know, you know…
And if you don’t, here it is:
Minneapolis has a squirrel problem.
Neighborhood folklore has it that squirrels aren’t even native to the area, but in the early 1900s, this guy in the Park & Rec Department thought they’d be a pleasant and appealing addition to life in the city. History does not speak fondly of this guy…
When I moved into Minneapolis in 2012, I did not know of the squirrel problem. Our house didn’t have AC at the time, so I left the windows open to let some fresh air in as I worked on getting settled. I came upstairs to the sound of someone or something rustling through our boxes.
Not one squirrel, but two!
One quickly managed to find the window, but the other, cornered and across the room from the window, stood up in what I can only describe as a fighting stance, making loud clicking sounds. And then it charged me!
Squirrels, like most animals, aren’t aggressive and they don’t pose a threat to humans.
But squirrels, like most animals, demonstrate different behavior when they feel cornered, stuck, and threatened.
Self-preservation is a force, and this is as true for squirrels as it is for humans as it is for businesses, nations and even our churches.
Trends continue to demonstrate, clearly and unequivocally, that our churches are on the decline. For many churches, Sunday morning attendance is as scarce as the tithing metrics. We can debate all day why this is happening, but the moral of today’s story is to suggest what we’ve seen in our partnering with churches when it does:
Vision gets tossed to the curb and imagination goes with it.
Discerning God’s invitation for their future is muddled with the desperate desire to see another day. Beautiful dreams die, as does whatever remains of their anchoring culture.
I’m not here to suggest all churches on the decline should close their doors.
What I am saying is that if there’s any group of people who can lean in when times get tough and remain open to whatever the future may hold, it should be us. We are, after all, resurrection people.
Self-preservation is perhaps the greatest force in the world.
The only greater being LOVE.
And it’s not even close.
Have a great week, Friends!