-Pastor Melissa Fain-
This was over a decade ago. I had just begun seeing that something had to change, or the church was going to see a drop in attendance over the coming years. In my naïve youth, I boldly expressed what I knew to be true. The 11am worship had to change to better meet the needs of those outside the Church.
That’s when an older congregant looked me in the eyes and said, “The world is changing so fast now, we want one thing that doesn’t change. Church cannot change, or we will have nothing.”
I have never understood people who see a problem and then don’t change something to fix it. I will often do what needs to be done; at the drop of a hat. That’s a leadership problem for me. I can’t understand why people keep broken situations, and therefore, I can’t explain how to do what I so naturally do. Then again, I’m never called to healthy spaces. I’m called to disasters. I dare anyone to name one system that was in good working order when I entered it. There is only one I can think of, and I believe that was not my calling, just a “in the meantime” job until the real call opened back up.
What I’ve learned about these systems, is none of them want the truth. They want to pretend they want the truth, but what they really want is the past. They want to recall a time when their pews were filled with smiling congregants, and everyone was singing “Standing on the Promises,” because that was the song where the Holy Ghost entered the room. Therefore, they will drop the big bucks for someone willing to sell them a lie. They might even know it’s a lie, but the illusion of what they want is less work than the actuality of truth.
Here’s the problem. What is easy is not always right. What is comfortable will trap you.
Speaking uncomfortable truths to a world trapped by easy comfort is a powerful form of love.
You want someone who is seeking love to speak those truths. The ones who speak those words outside of love will only burn it all down. It makes it all that more important for the right person to yell out those truths so all can hear.
Right now, easy Church is the wrong way. Right now, we are being called to difficult places with difficult choices. I speak truth to those systems because I want to see them redeemed. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. I don’t see churches clamoring to support me financially, but someone who loves needs to do it, and I don’t see anyone else standing. So, I stand and sing Amazing Grace, with blogs and sermons, hoping the true meaning can be seen above the noise.