Sometimes I’m hopeful…sometimes I’m not…today, I’m not!

Well…here goes.  Today I received in my mailbox another issue of a denominational magazine that frequents my life.  Let me say at the outset, I’ve been involved in many, many conversations that, at times, bring me alot of hope about the institutional church.  I’ve witnessed firsthand many leaders and denominational executives asking new questions and attempting to look at the 21st century from a refreshing Kingdom perspective.  There are synods, districts, convocations, and numerous other denominational jurisdictions that are attempting to engage local churches in new conversations about ministry.  Some of my friends think that I’m just plain cynical about the local institutional church…there are times, I must admit, that it is very easy to shoot at such a sitting duck.  What’s the old cliche?  Shooting fish in a barrel?  I don’t know…whatever cliche you want to use, the institutional church is an easy target…especially when you have been on the "inside" for such a long time.  I served in a mainline church/denomination for over 30 years so I feel like I have not only a right but also the privilege of taking some well-placed volleys at something in which I have so heavily invested.  Even so, there are things that cross my desk or computer screen where the old temptation to simply blast the church comes creeping up again.  Like this article that I read in the monthly magazine I received today…the article, "Top 10 Reasons to worship this summer".  The author, a local pastor, went on to list ten reasons why people should come to "church" during the season where attendance traditionally dwindles.  First of all, the assumption in the article is that worship ONLY happens in a building at a prescribed time.  In fact, one of his ten points is that "we all have a limited time to worship".  As I said above, too easy of a target to shoot at…my common sense and incredible wisdom does not permit me from jumping on that.  I stated above that there are times when I have hope for the local church…then there are times where I don’t.  After reading this article, I have to admit…today is NOT a hopeful day.  It isn’t just that the article is there for people to read but it is also prominently in a denominational magazine that is not-so-subtly promoting this mindset and praxis.  I guess I shouldn’t be discouraged…I should simply be glad that there are those who more and more "get it".  So, with that…I’m "done" for the day on the blog.  On to other things…

By the way, don’t forget to check out the Youth Leadership Institute’s TEAM 07 conference coming up in July @ Azusa Pacific University.  If you are youth worker who wants to invest your student’s lives in something that will challenge them intellectually, theologically and practically to live as "difference makers" in the culture, check out the conference @ our website (  Renew_logo4

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