These Uncertain Times

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It’s no secret that so much in our world today feels like uncharted territory.

The way things used to be and the comfortable norms we’ve grown accustomed to are long gone, insufficient to meet today’s reality. Nowhere has this shift been felt more acutely than in the church.

Truthfully, the signs have been there for decades—declining attendance, shifts in overall religious beliefs and affiliations, and an overall sense that the church doesn’t hold the dominant position of cultural influence and authority it once did. We could spend hours dissecting the causes for this and we could also debate whether some of these shifts are actually for the better (for both the church and for culture), but the truth is—no matter the cause or the impact—we can no longer bury our heads in the sand and simply do business as usual.

Now, I’ll show my hand here: I think much of this is for the better, if we only have eyes to see it. The church has long stagnated in its mission to love its neighbors—especially in America—because for so long we simply assumed people would or should come to us for answers, for care, for inspiration, and for resources. And for centuries, they did!

But that posture led the church to the dangerous place of complacency, of ignoring the work necessary to really understand how to love our neighbors well and with humility.

What we need today is a fresh imagination for every aspect of how we understand church: how we gather, the ministries we offer, how we structure our leadership, and how we use our resources (including our buildings!) to love our neighbors. We don’t pretend to have all the answers or solutions, but as we press on in this work of placemaking we are catching glimpses of hope.

With a spark of imagination, a strong dose of courage, and a firm belief that God is still actively working in our world towards its healing and restoration, there are better days ahead!

With hope,