An open letter to denominational leaders
Thank you for leading our denomination. It’s not an easy job, and I don’t envy you. I’m writing today as a critic, but as a friendly one. Over the past year, I’ve come to understand Jesus’ call to discipleship – to give up our lives and die to ourselves – as applicable not just to individuals, but to churches and denominations as well. Programs and goals sure aren’t serving our churches and denominations well. Most institutions have a built-in survival instinct, and it’s my thesis that this survival instinct is the very thing that gets in the way of following Jesus as we should. I’d suggest a few things. First, we should admit we’re not doing well. We’re not growing, we’re not having much of an influence on society, and, a lot of times, we’re not seeing lives transformed from the inside out within our churches. This is a harsh reality, and I don’t blame you for this, but it seems to be true. It could just be that we’re focused on the wrong things. I’ve heard a lot about the various programs and audacious goals we’ve set for ourselves. I’ve sat through the endless debates on secondary theological issues. Could it be that our main problem is not what we believe or what we plan, but what we care about? Perhaps recapturing our concern for the oppressed, presenting good headlines (that’s what the Gospel literally means) instead of bad ones to the world is what it’s all about. We seldom talk about love, yet that seems to be the core of what Jesus talked about. I don’t write this out of naive idealism. I’m just concerned that we’ve settled for something far below what God offers, and we don’t even know it. God honors brokenness, and it may be a good time to acknowledge our brokenness before him. He just may want to use us again, not when we get our acts together, but when we stop trying to pull ourselves together and instead offer ourselves to him. Thank you. I’m praying for you.