This coming week at Memorial Baptist Church we launch a new team. The name of this new team is the "Church Unity Team." It is a team of about 50 people who will come together to dream about a new day for our church. At this past months business meeting our church unanimously voted this team into existence.
I believe that every church exists on a life cycle. What is that? It means that just as a human body moves for birth to adolescence to maturity and to decline, so the church does as well. Most churches are born out of a dream. They are born with a group of people who care deeply for the dream. The early life of any church is defined by joy of living out the dream. In this time the church grows chasing after the dream.
At some point though, the church reaches maturity. This is a time when numbers are often the biggest, tithing is great and life couldn't be better. At the moment of maturity the church can either dream again or become content in what it had achieved. Most churches become content and move into decline. It is in decline that the church lives in the nostalgia of its better days. They remember what life was like in maturity and long for the day that had passed them bye. In nostalgia the church becomes bitter and fights because it desires to grow again but all it has is a bygone dream. Once a church becomes defined by nostalgia and their attempts to return to their better days, all that is left for most is a slow decline till death.
Can it be turned around? Absolutely. Will it be difficult? Yes. What must happen? The church must be reborn. How? The church must dream a new dream and chase after it in the same way as when it started.
This coming week at MBC we start the process of dreaming a new dream. In this time we will discover our values, find God's mission and discover a new vision for how we will accomplish it. I am proud that our church is not content to just sit and live in its past, but instead is willing to take the bold step into tomorrow.