Future of the Church

I have been wondering for a while on whether to contribute to the debate on some Methodist blogs about the future of the Church (see connexions » Efficiency, connexions » Responding to decline (again): Change and connexions » Gotta get a system – I’ll leave you to find the other side, it shouldn’t be too difficult from the comments on connexions).

I have wondered whether to write a response to those views which make me despair for the future of the Church, ones that seem to be full of aggression and vindictiveness.

In the end I have decided not to play that game.

You see my experience is quite different. Like many newish Methodist Ministers I have come into ordained ministry later in life after a career in other fields. I am not some naive, wet behind the ears graduate who has never touched the real world.

So I now work within a Church that has problems, that has at times in it’s history lost its way, one that does not have a reputation for rapid change.

What do I find here in this Church?

  • I find loving and competent people determined to know and serve Jesus.
  • I find dedicated people giving huge amounts of time to the Church, to their communities – all for the Kingdom of God.
  • I find an openness to change (by no means everywhere, but in more than enough places and people to give plenty of hope

But more than all these things, I find the Holy Spirit at work – changing lives, transforming situations. I see people experiencing the love of Christ who forgives, heals, restores. I see the creative energy of the generous Father in new opportunities, new lives, new ventures.

When I was young I was frustrated by the slowness of the Church in adopting skills, techniques, processes from business. Now, rather older, I rejoice in being part of a Church where God is at work creating, redeeming, giving life. A Church in which we can face death through the real hope that only comes from God dying for us and then bringing resurrection and new life. Now I rejoice in the diversity and generosity of his love.

For me the future of the Church rests in the hands of the God who loves me – despite my failings. What a wonderful thing that is. Hallelujah!

3 thoughts on “Future of the Church

  1. Olive Morgan

    Thank you so much, Dave. Just what I’ve been longing to read! When I look at the Methodist Church now, this is what I see rather than the doom and despair of decline that others are talking about. There have been times in the past when such despairing talk was prevalent but always God has raised up new people and renewed us by his Spirit. I agree with Tom Stuckey that we are on the edge of Pentecost today. Let us put our trust in God and make sure that all our energies are working towards this. What a faithful God have we!

    Reply
  2. Methodist Preacher

    “I have wondered whether to write a response to those views which make me despair for the future of the Church, ones that seem to be full of aggression and vindictiveness.”
    Dave I think you are right to be cautious. Like you, I too despair of the inability of some to handle the slightest questioning of the status quo as an opportunity for negative attacks and even personal abuse.
    The important thing is that we focus on the issues and it is good that you have reminded us of these.

    Reply

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