Imagine things staying exactly the same as they are right now. Consider what is happening not only in the world but also in your personal life. What if nothing changed?
I’ve been constantly aware of change. Especially when it comes to church news. Since my seminary days, in the 1990’s, data and researchers told us the church in America was dying. Death of the Church by Mike Regele was required reading. But, I was on the front lines of the protest declaring the church would not die—not on my watch. I participated in vivid debates. I pledged I would not participate in ‘rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.’ I believed then and I continue to believe in the local church as a powerful force for God to reach people with the gospel in unconventional ways, challenge believers to grow into maturity in Christ and cultivate leaders to truly embrace the mantle of leadership.
I believe the church is the bride of Christ. Jesus is responsible for her. The Church will never die. But, local churches close weekly in America. Which brings me to my concerns about Wheatland. I am part of a long list of pastors and leaders that have influenced Wheatland since 1852. There is an ebb and flow to church life over the years. Like many other local churches, I believe we are at a crucial crossroads. Data and facts will tell us that Wheatland will not be here in 20 years if nothing changed. You can read more challenging news here http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=42346
I believe it’s our time to accept the mantle of leadership and not succumb to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The local community surrounding our two locations has changed over the years. We have lived through major changes. Fewer people attend church in America and that means fewer people attend Wheatland. We have less money. Our resources are stretched. It’s time to rise to the occasion and challenge each other to change. Jesus Christ is calling his bride to stand up and come alive.
This week we will make our financial pledge to the ministries of Wheatland Salem Church. It’s time to take some next steps toward real and lasting change. I can lead the protest. I can preach challenging sermons. Wheatland staff can come up with fantastic resources, programming and worship. But, the real change must happen within you. We have an opportunity to truly make a difference now and for the future of our church. Imagine the story someone would tell of the people who took God’s call in their lives to heart at this crucial time. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They devoted themselves to the scriptures, to fellowship with one another, to communion and prayer. Everyone was filled with awe. Signs, wonders and miracles were a daily occurrence. All the believers were united and had everything in common. They sold possessions and goods. They gave to those who had need. They met for public prayer, they shared life together with glad and sincere hearts. The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Wheatland thrived during a difficult time because the people believed.
Wheatland, this is our time. Let’s make the change.
"Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.” Luke 8:55a