For those of you reading this who aren’t familiar with Franklin Lakes Baptist Church (FLBC), an explanation of what this is and why we’re doing it can be found here.
Last night we continued our series of discussions on the church and the changing cultural and religious climate of our world. The following series of posts (Meetings 1-8) are meant to serve as a basic review, general impressions/observations and follow-up to each meeting.
OPENING UP – “Best Memories of Church”
After opening in prayer, I (pastor) attempted to break the ice with some stories of our church family’s best memories of church. It was unexpectedly moving.
There were memories of consistent family involvement from childhood. There were stories that covered biblical community, when men live as brothers, women live as sisters, couples are coupled and people are growing.
There were some fun memories as well. Memories of the multi-generational involvement in outreach. Memories of in-service church bloopers.
Perhaps the most moving memories that were shared surrounded a single, massive event that took place in our church family. For the sake of privacy I won’t go into detail here. Suffice it to say it was a season when someone needed help, love and support and the church came through in spades.
Personally, I was most informed and excited by the memories of one of our founding members as he talked through the planting years of FLBC. To quote him, “I think one of the greatest memories I have, over the years, was the early years of this church when Pastor McQuade and Delores were here… and the excitement… from week to week seeing people come. People got saved. The excitement of the building of the building and the great times that we had together. We had special needs during the time of building and it just seemed like the Lord sent people in, at the right time, with the right skills to do that. It was just a great time in the history of this church and in my life.”
The whole time brought smiles and feelings of warmth to everyone in the building.
From there, it was down to business… below is a brief review.
Ice having been sufficiently broken, we jumped into chapter 4 & 5 of Who Stole My Church. Now, if you are one of those “history is boring” people let me just tell you… last night was probably a little boring.
We covered a lot in a short amount of time, acknowledging some of the seismic shifts that have taken place in the church and in the world from the past to the present. Why did we do this? I’ll let the author of Who Stole My Church cover that,
“So here’s the bottom line of all of this. Down through 2000 years, you have only one unchanging thing in the church: the Gospel of Jesus that calls people to forgiveness of sins and to participation in a community of people who want to serve each other and go forward to make a statement about God’s love in their worlds. But the way in which people organize themselves to actualize this one unchanging thing is changing all the time. Almost nothing can stay the same for long if you want to connect with people and introduce them to Jesus Christ.”
Following the history lesson we dove in to the present and the massive changes that are taking place because of this little thing called “the Internet.”
While we didn’t go deep down the rabbit hole of this discussion, we discovered just how much our lives have all changed over the last 10 years. Almost everyone has e-mail, a cell phone and a personal computer. The majority of us engage in social media, have a smartphone or tablet and frequently rely on the technological blessings of the world wide web.
What’s mind-blowing is how quickly these radical changes are taking place. What’s intimidating are the implications for our lives and for our ministry.
This was a good meeting. People engaged and listened. People were honest and were starting to open up.
I believe that the ground work is being laid for whatever changes are coming.
There’s a lot more work to do, but we’re getting there.
FOLLOW-UP – Intimidated
For me there were two big takeaways from this second meeting.
- Everyone is a little nervous about what this all means for the world and what this means for our church. However, there is a sense of hope and excitement that seems to be lingering in the air. It’s a delicate balance.
- We all long for the days from our past, when the church was effective, was on mission and was producing spiritual and numeric fruit. We all want to be part of something exciting that the Lord is clearly blessing and we want to be closer to each other.
Personally, I’m thrilled. What we are striving for is what we are hoping for. The real challenge now is figuring out what we need to be or to do to make it happen.
Another good night. Can’t wait to get back to it next week (Chapters 7-8). See you there.