FBC wears this t-shirt which cracks me up. The future we imagine might be full of cool new toys or it might involve something darker. But part of our job as professional ministers involves telling the story of a different future.
I’m not talking about a “hang-in-there-because-heaven-will-be-great-even-though-our-current-state-is-miserable” theology. I’m talking about heaven on earth and what that might look like for our spiritual communities.
Our staff is reading this book by Zaffron and Logan, and it teaches some of the same concepts as the PCUSA’s New Beginnings. What is the future story of our community? Are we stuck in a default future?
I’ve noticed that people get angry and/or frantic when I point out to them that their church is dying and probably will close in the next 3-5 years. Note to self: Don’t use a hammer when conveying this message.
People don’t want to hear this news for complex reasons: it’s critical of them and the way they do/have always done things; it’s overwhelming because they are too tired to make big changes; they don’t want to make big changes; they just want the church of their personal histories to be there – same as ever – when they die. The congregations that make the leap from what they want the church to be to what God might want the church to be is a brave one. It might be the ultimate in faithful discipleship.