In a post last week, Russell Moore talks a bit about the recent Gallup poll that shows, for the first time ever, less than half those surveyed belong to a church. But he spends more time talking about the ways the Church is responsible for the decline.
Early in the year 2020 BC, our pastor was preaching on the importance of community, of being in a small group, etc. He talked about the things a lifegroup (the official 121 nomenclature for small groups) did together, starting with being in the Word together. And then, as he is wont to do, he went off-script. “Maybe you’re uncomfortable studying the Bible, maybe you’d like to learn to study the Bible. We could start a How to Study Your Bible life group!” And then he went on with the rest of his sermon.
Knowing how these things went, I checked in at the office after the service.
I’ve told this story probably a hundred times over the years. If you’re one of the ones I’ve told it to, well, sometimes real life has reruns, too. This one will be better than all those Saved the Bells. But not better than Batman, because what could be better than a Batman rerun?
In the summer of twenty-five years ago, the XO of our church at the time asked me to breakfast. Just like in the military, an XO at a church is the person who makes the things happen that the captain/pastor dreams up in his head. If you were to look up XO in the dictionary, this guy’s picture is who would be staring you in the face.
Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, before the term “social distancing” had been invented, when people in masks robbed banks, when the year looked like a countdown instead of an eye chart, I wrote about our church’s twentieth anniversary, and specifically about the man who welcomed us when we started going there.
Bernadette Fox finds life, and people, stressful. She hires a concierge service from India so she doesn’t have to deal with the day-to-day details of being a wife and mother. She needs a new extra-strength prescription to handle the possibility of being on a cruise ship, even a small one with only 150 people on board. She and her husband and daughter live in an abandoned Catholic school with vines growing up through the floor. In short, Bernadette is a mess.
And the mess keeps growing. It turns out the concierge service is actually an identity theft ring, and Bernadette has given them the keys to the kingdom, and the bank accounts.
(Where has the time gone? Where have I gone? I know, I know, I’ve been a poor caretaker of this web site. Let’s see if I can do better.)
The church we are a part of celebrated their 20th anniversary a couple of weeks ago, and as part of that celebration produced a video about the first 20 years. Almost nine minutes in, Tim Harris talks about greeting visitors at the church’s first building, and says, “I didn’t do it to the degree of Loyd…”. We did meet Tim and Cindy very early on in that building, but nobody did (or does) it to the “degree of Loyd.”
We had been members of a church for half-a-lifetime (35 years for me, 20 for my wife) when God called us somewhere else.