Common questions we hear at church:
- How many were in Sunday School today?
- Who is supposed to be working in the nursery next Sunday?
- Are we meeting the budget for this month?
- Is the preacher going to visit the new prospects this week?
- When are we going to go back to using the hymnal?
- The youth director makes how much?
- How could they come in the sanctuary behaving like that?
- Why don’t people want to come to church anymore?
People are asking all kinds of questions at church. But it’s the ones they’re not asking that interest me. I really believe people in churches all across America are feeling a growing discontent. I don’t mean they’re unhappy with going to church, or with their leadership necessarily. They’re beginning to wonder if there is not a better way to do what they’re supposed to do, or more accurately, be who they’re supposed to be.
Many churches, especially the small churches, are caught in a cycle of leadership turnover. It seems they are in a perpetual search for a new pastor. The turnover rate is mind-blowing! A pastor leaves, a search committee is formed, and here they go again shuffling through resumes and listening to recorded sermons proffered by willing candidates. In the meantime, the ministry of the church is put on hold till the new guy comes on the field. This is just business as usual for many churches.
I’ve got to believe some of the people in these churches have questions burning in their souls about this whole thing of church, ministry, leadership, and all the stuff that goes with it. But they’re afraid to mull over the questions, much less ask them aloud, because it seems somehow akin to questioning the Ten Commandments or the creation account. They dare not be seen as challenging the traditions of their fathers.
What might some of those questions be that are gnawing in the gut of many church members (and pastors) that they dare not ask?
- Do we really have to meet again on Sunday night and Wednesday night?
- Why is the preacher the only one who gets to speak?
- Is the way we’re doing church actually biblical?
- Could we not reach more people by going where they are instead of trying to get them to come to us?
- When did we begin to measure commitment to Christ by attendance & participation?
- What’s wrong with working with a church of a different denomination to do ministry?
- Are we making any difference at all? Would the community miss us if we closed our doors tomorrow?
Have you asked any of those questions recently? What other unasked questions are burning in your soul? Dare you ask?