In this last installment on what to give up for Lent, beyond donuts and lattes, to things that make a real difference, I have to end this way: Give up giving up!
It’s become somewhat fashionable to give up on the mainline church. As if all that’s left is for the last rat to jump ship. Or the last Israelite prophet to cave before Baal.
Only it ain’t over til it’s over. And believe me, it ain’t over. Surges of resurrection are happening all over the place. And we’re not even at Easter Sunday yet!
Tired of hopelessness? Hang in there. I’m going to share 3 rock-solid reasons why giving up on the church is the wrong move. And 1 rockin’ video that will make all the difference!
The best days of the mainline church may just be ahead of us. And here are 3 small reasons I think so:
1. Small is biblical. God delights in the faithful remnant. The image of a faithful remnant is woven throughout scripture. Now granted some of churches have shrunk because they are stuck rather than faithful. But many of our smaller churches are engaged in effective ministry. They function like small groups–praying for one another, engaged in each other’s lives, and reaching out beyond themselves to include others in the warmth of Christian fellowship and grace.
2. Small is beautiful. Christianity was born out of a small Jewish following of Jesus. Rabbi Jesus didn’t lead a majority party. While churches spread around the Mediterranean and beyond after his death, it wasn’t until Constantine made it the state religion that it became popular. Ever since, the marriage of Church and State has produced questionable results. Maybe it’s time to get back under the radar screen. We have done some of our best work that way.
3. Small is how it starts. When Jesus showed up on the scene, even before he called any disciples, he proclaimed the Kingdom of Heaven. He later said it’s at hand, it’s around, it’s within. He wasn’t waiting for it to come. It was already here. That hasn’t changed. That means that what the church is looking to make manifest is actually already here. Like yeast hidden in the loaf. Yes, we can enlarge its spread, and teach its principles. But just as the Spirit was given upon Jesus’ departure, so the Kingdom remains. God’s greatest gift of heaven on earth is here–accessible to us even now.
While I’ve given you 3 small reasons to give up on giving up, this church leader explains how small adds up. Watch this delightful and empowering video that re-frames the true power of the church.