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Category: religion

03/24/10 10:24 - 35ºF - ID#51257

Churches are like people

Churches are like people, especially in their life-cycle. The only difference is that sometimes a church can hit "reset" and find new life, i.e. in their "maturity" years they can make choices to find a new mission expression and rediscover the passion of youth. Honestly, however, very few do.

I like church planters, the people that start new churches, and it renews my perspective when I hang out with them. The congregation I serve is well over 100 years old. We are attempting a "reset" right now, but for many purposes, we are retirement-age, if not older.

Most of the congregations I interact with are either geriatric or infants/toddlers. Just as people love human babies, baby churches are also very excited and filled with promise. (This is not the main thrust of this post, but another similarity is that sometimes they are planned, and sometimes they just "happen.")

Many of the churches that are making a tremendous difference in the world right now are churches that are in the "maturity" stage of life, say 30-50 years old. Unfortunately, there are not too many congregations of this age. The "baby boom" of churches started post World War II has led to a "bust," because the need for new congregations was not felt.

Now, however, there is an important generation of church missing.

Churches in maturity are struggling to find youth, but it is difficult.

Baby Churches need parents, but they are lacking.

Mature churches are the ones that make a difference, caring for the older ones and nurturing the younger ones, but they are missing.

Can grandparents raise children? Of course. It is hard, however, because there is a double generation gap, we aren't as fast as we used to be, and frankly, we are pre-occupied with our own aging and pending death. But we need to step up, get over ourselves, and get to work.

On the other side of the coin, young churches need parents. Some are desperate for them, but others are firmly against the idea. Unlike people, baby churches can say "no," and not have a parent to correct them. This is why dangerous theology finds a home in younger churches.

Dangerous, of course, doesn't always mean "bad," although it does sometimes. The church needs to take risks and do dangerous things, but it also needs to make sure it doesn't do too much damage in the process. This is what parents do for children. Good parents let their kids experience negative consequences, but they don't let babies go swimming without a lifeguard. Some young churches insist then can swim, or light fireworks, or whatever when they cannot.

The best shepherds of young communities find an older community, not to duplicate it, but to learn from it. Older communities need to be open to younger communities, not fearing being replaced, but welcoming it--this is what children are supposed to do! We need to guide and counsel, but not at the same time, foster maturity and independence as they grow. It is hard for grand-parents, even great-grandparents to do this, but not impossible at all.

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Category: 10 things

03/17/10 11:52 - 44ºF - ID#51205

10 Things I like about Ireland

1. u2.

2. Hurling

3. Guinness

4. Irish Whiskey

5. Cliff's of Moher (and other amazing sea cliffs)

6. Irish monasticism/Celtic spirituality

7. Galway (which was home for a Summer)

8. Dublin (it would still be a great town, even if it didn't produce u2 and Guinness)

9. The Committments.

10. More u2 (worth mentioning twice!)
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