This week, let’s consider why we might need to change how we are doing “church.”*
In recent years, we have been experiencing a significant shift in society where “the church” is no longer at the center of social and cultural life. There is a growing population that views religion with distrust and fewer and fewer young people are choosing to align themselves with any denomination. In addition, more people are self-identifying as ‘non-affiliated’ and/or ‘spiritual but not religious.’ We need to shift from a “traditional” approach to a “missional” approach to congregational life. Let’s consider each:
In a “traditional approach,” a congregation’s programs and budgets are geared mostly towards maintaining what has been set up in the past. One could say that the central focus is to attract people to become a part of what the congregation is already doing.
In a “missional approach,” however, a congregation strives to connect with and follow God’s outward moving and connecting spirit by listening to and developing relationships with its neighbors. This will require intentionally going deeper in spiritual practices (taking time to listen for God’s guidance through such practices as “Dwelling in the Word” and the “Mission Prayer”), and being willing to examine every single thing the congregation is doing from the standpoint of becoming missional and developing relationships.
This week, use this scripture for “Dwelling in the Word”: “As a prophetic people you are called … to discern the divine will for your own time and in the places where you serve. You live in a world with new challenges, and that world will require new forms of ministry…. the church is admonished to prayerfully consider how calling and giftedness … can best be expressed in a new time.” (D&C 162:2c)
*Based on materials from Michigan Mission Center