Ten or 15 years from now, there won’t be much left in most of today's churches...or in most church bodies.
- Look at what’s unraveled in the last 5 years.
- The believers coming behind us don’t want to inherit much of what we want to give them. (Ask them!)
- Look at your own denomination…do you sense positive, forward momentum coming from the HQ?
- The wonderful 70 and above crowd? It becomes a few.
- Most church bodies, mine included, are mostly white…in an increasingly racially diverse future (43% of millennials are not white!).
One thing I can tell you is that even if the pews remain more full, the people in those pews are generally not Lutheran in identity or faith (not their fault since they are not taught to be Lutherans). Furthermore, the people filling the pews tend to be (and statistics support this) not unchurched who are seeking church for the first time or even those who are coming back to church but the church shoppers who look for new churches like they would the latest and greatest new restaurant -- and they are gone to visit the next best newest church when it opens its doors.
So, though I do believe their motivation is on target, I do also believe their guidance will not help us be faithful as Lutherans to our Symbols OR help us reach out to those burned out and turned off or who do not see themselves as people of faith at all. What I do believe will help is a congregation serious about what is believed and taught, sober and reverent in worship, and using music as a servant of the Word instead of personal preference. Furthermore, I remain unconvinced that Lutherans are failing because they are Lutheran but are failing more because they are failing to be Lutheran. And if you have read this blog before, you will not be surprised by that statement.