Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Church's Future

1 Corinthians 10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

As many of you know I serve on our Presbyteries Committee on Ministry and each month I meet with several others to help our churches that are in transition.  In fact between that and many of my own church experience it can make one feel like the future of church is pretty grim.  Most churches are not growing, most churches are in fact shrinking.  Most churches are in some form of dispute and many churches lay in the midst of corporation.  Even our little church has questioned why the time of "church" seems to be gone. 

But if we think about church history, we realize that this is just one of many times when a generation has felt that deep weight of what the future has in store.  The command from Paul in the above passage is to take with care how each builder is to build from the foundation that Jesus has laid.  To take with care...reminds me of the motto in the Presbyterian church - Reformed church, always reforming.  You see if each generation didn't question what the generation before built then we wouldn't be holding true to our charge.  We wouldn't be taking care of how we build our foundation if we were not questioning and learning.  This is so important.

The reason why small churches like Huron are not falling into the same statistical traps as other larger churches in denomination is because, smaller congregation don't always get stuck in ruts.  Higher percentage of involvement in smaller congregations leads to more people's ideas being heard.  I cannot help but think of a PR committee in October in which I sat there bringing up one of Russ' concerns: we need to do more mission.  I brought up a problem without any idea of a solution.  We started talking about different demographic groups we could reach out to and the next thing we knew the Advent Gift bag idea was born...that was God's will working in our church and from everyone who received a bag to everyone who put the bags together joy and happiness and the Spirit were felt.  It was an amazing project.

Christ has laid a sure foundation - a foundation that we - each of us and each generation are charged with building upon.  How amazing!  Let us continue to do our good work on building upon the foundation that Christ has laid, having hope and finding encouragement and keeping ourselves out of the statistical pool by holding fast to the commandment to carefully lay our blocks.  Building on what Jesus' has laid and not the wills of others. 

All churches - our denomination and Christian church in general - has hope.  People still believe in God.  Yet now is the time for us to question the builders of the past and looking for God's guidance on where we should be placing our blocks for the future.   For now, Huron needs to hold fast to their Spirit of prayer and corporation; proving that although you may be small in numbers you are proving the sure foundation that Christ has laid in the Huron Church.