I love this rock. I've shared it before. A few years back Atlanta had a really bad flood. Six Flags, and I-20 next to it was under water. All the neighborhoods in and around Clarkdale Elementary was completely submerged. (The smell of mold lingered in the area for years. There are still houses that remain vacant, because they simply need to be torn down There is nothing else that can be done with them..) Part of the road in front of our home was washed out. It made it precarious to pull out of our drive way for months. My husband worked at a school. The road next to it was completely washed out. That's where I got this rock. Before the flood it was buried under feet of dirt and pavement. I keep it to remind myself of the fragility of life. Even things we think are solid can be ripped apart in the matter of hours, maybe minutes.
That's not what I'm here to talk about today. When the waters receded, and cleanup began, I watched the world being put back together. There were four areas, near to where I lived, that were hit pretty bad. Off of 92 there was an old bridge that was completely obliterated. There was the road in front of our home that was half way washed out. There was the road next to the school that was completely washed out; where I got my rock. Finally, there was Clarkdale Elementary School, completely flooded out.
There was something that didn't happen to these places after the flood. They were not rebuilt to be exactly what they had previously been. The storm came. It left, and these areas were found lacking the ability to withstand such a situation. Even in the case of Clarkdale, where there was nothing that could be done to keep those waters out of the school, they had the opportunity to make it better for those kids. Not only was the road in front of my home repaired with extra fortification, a fence was put up to protect people from the chasm that lay on the other side of it. The bridge off of 92 was never rebuilt. A better path was chosen for the cars to cross. As for the school road? A bigger pipe was installed so it could handle the waters if they were to return.
The point is, when a structure is tested, and fails, the new structure should be built to withstand the very thing that made it fail.
Bringing the focus to the church, in many ways the storm is over. For the American Church, we've come through broken, and in pieces. Over the past half decade I've been to many of these churches, and you have no idea how many just want to rebuild to some pre-storm status. More than that, we think we can do it when our very core has been washed away to almost nothing. We can't do that! Why are we so nuts?!
The answer is incredibly simple. Research how to rebuild with the churches new situation in mind. Don't discount new technology (i.e. research) when rebuilding. Follow the new plan!
The problem is extremely difficult. We can't do any of that until the church accepts the storm came, and things can't be done the same way anymore. In some cases, it's just making what they already have better. In many cases, it's completely changing things up. That's scary. Old "building plans" can't be used. (You know, the classic method of finding a new Vision. Doesn't work anymore. Congregants know how to hijack the system in their favor.) Churches are so focused on what they had, they can't accept what God wants them to be.
Solution: Have a funeral for the church of the 1990's, and mean it. You can't bring it back, and you can't move on until you let it go. The storm is over. Pick up the pieces and rebuild.