Of course there’s still good news… right? The Bible is being taught. The Gospel is being proclaimed. The Sacraments are being administered.
Plus, you and other folks like you are living out that good news as a response to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.
There’s still good news in your congregation.
But there’s a problem.
It’s more difficult for people, today’s people … particularly younger adults …that are registering “none” on the religious interest meter…to realize it! (See Reaching People…Why It’s So Difficult Today)
There are many reasons why we’ve lost the trust of the communities we’re called to serve. Here are two new ones:
- In the state of Pennsylvania, the attorney general is about to release an 800+ page report chronicling decades of abuse (and cover up!) of young boys by priests in the Roman Catholic church.
- The Southern Baptist Convention is currently being confronted with leaders with well-publicized moral failures and the mistreatment of women (and cover up!).
- I hurt for my brothers and sisters in these bodies that get disheartened.
- I’m not throwing stones here. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I shepherded a congregation as painfully similar news broadcast throughout Chicagoland from our congregation some years ago.
- Our earliest beginnings in my own denomination demonstrated that sin cuts through the heart of every human being and can’t simply be kept “out there.”
But, make no mistake, people in your community who are sampling the news hear:
- Kids can get hurt inside churches.
- Women get mistreated inside churches.
- Leaders can’t be trusted inside churches.
And you and your congregation’s reputation gets tarnished.
You tell me how many “far from God” 35-year-olds can distinguish your church from the bodies noted above?
The “it’s not us” doesn’t build trust. Besides, we “could be us” (and cover up).
Plus, it’s a wise reminder for each of us to guard ourselves against the “devil’s schemes… and the spiritual forces of evil.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)
So, here’s what churches are missing!
It’s a Trust issue. The church is not trusted! It’s not trusted as a credible source for Truth in larger and larger portions of our society. And, congregation after congregation has no proven ways to build trust with the not trusting.
It’s hard to imagine that folks like us who faithfully give voice of the inspired, inerrant Word of God might be seen as “Fake News.”
James Emery White insists we must think “process” of evangelism not “event.”
Our friend Dave Rhodes maintains: Truth can only travel at the pace of trust.
Truth spoken with no trust creates resentment.
Most churches have no “process” in their current ministry for a “3” to advance along the scale… for distrust to inch toward trust…where truth can gain traction.
They’re the vehicle where Trust can be built in relationships so that Truth can have Traction in the lives of people who are disconnected. It’s difficult to catch on to for seasoned church folks steeped in church programs. You’ll probably fail at it a time or two. That’s okay! If it were easy everyone would already be doing it!
PLI’s Discipleship to Missional Community (starting in October) will help you build a culture where your entire congregation can be mobilized to build trust with “3’s” and “4’s” and “5’s” and “8’s” and “9’s” so that Truth has traction.
PLI’s 1000 Young Leaders is the catalyst for reaching a distrusting, disinterested generation.
Please take a moment and share this blog with a couple of leaders who might benefit.
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