We are living in a time of megachange. It is happening at every level and within every institution of society. We have moved from a modern to post-modern era and even beyond. Truth has been not only displaced by “truths,” but even lies and fabrications have now become acceptable.
Peter Drucker, a management consultant, sums it up this way:
Every few hundred years throughout Western history, a sharp transformation has occurred. In a matter of decades, society altogether rearranges itself— its world view, its basic values, its social and political structures, its arts, its key institutions. Fifty years later a new world exists. And the people born into that world cannot even imagine the world in which grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born.
Where is the Church in all of this and how is it doing?
Most congregations like our own have plateaued or are in decline. Some believe that the number of unchurched is as high as 70-80% of the population. Generally, churches have not responded well to this change and leaders are not prepared for it.
Yes, there are pockets where the church seems to be doing well. In Africa and Asia the church is booming. In North America, there are churches that are drawing hundreds and thousands to worship.
A closer examination of North American churches though reveals that the growth of some churches is at the expense of others – the Wal-Mart effect. Within these large churches, however, loyalty and commitment is generally soft with people moving in and out.
So how can an older congregation like ours respond to these new realities?
We could become quite depressed by what we have read, but God’s Word is a testimony to how God continues to work in the midst of change, even when the change is not good.
In the midst of this megachange God calls us to continue to work together in God’s mission and ministry, trusting that God is in control. Whether an individual congregation survives this change or not, God’s Church will continue to bear witness to the good news…
that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8