Why I started dying church
This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
Starting this site was a bit of a milestone for me. I was at a conference and something snapped. I'm not sure why, but I had a kairos moment. Instead of trying to make church better, maybe churches had to do the opposite – to get out of the way to let God move. I wasn't sure what this meant, but I'm not alone. I'm pretty sure that God is behind a divine discontent that is sweeping across western Christianity today. Reggie McNeal talks about people quitting the church not because they are giving up on their faith, but to preserve their faith. D.A. Carson writes:
…which of us can safely deny that a fair proportion of what goes on in many traditional evangelical churches – whether corporate worship, small-group Bible studies, and even prayer times – feels disturbingly inauthentic at times? …We may go through meeting after meeting, and all of it is reassuringly familiar, but we do not come out saying, in effect, "Surely we have met with the living God!"…There is little intensity in confession, little joy in absolution, little delight in gospel, little urgency in evangelism, little sense of privilege and gratitude in witness, little passion for the truth, little compassion for others, little humility in our evaluations, little love in our dealings with others.
In Barna's new book Revolution, Barna reports on the state of churched Christians and concludes:
The point here is simply to recognize if we place all our hope in the local church, it is a misplaced hope. Many well-intentioned pastors promote this perspective by proclaiming, "The local church is the hope of the world." Like most advertising slogans, this notion is emotionally appealing. The trouble is, the sentiment is not biblical. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the hope of the world. The local church is one mechanism that can be instrumental in bringing us closer to Him and helping us to be more like Him. But, as the research data clearly show, churches are not doing the job. If the local church is the hope of the world, then the world has no hope. [emphasis mine]
So this is where it began. Instead of seeing church as the hope, I began to wonder if the church, in some sense, had to die.