Sorry to have such a long delay between posts... such is life sometimes. Besides the fact that I have a fairly new job and two young children, I was sick most of last week. On top of that, we've been going through quite a difficult time at our church for about... oh, the last 2 years or so. It's finally come to a crossroads for my family, so tonight I had a meeting with our elders to discuss what I feel is one of the last chances for our church to survive.
The congregation has been on a slow and steady decline since the 1960s, but 2 years ago a few crises hit and accelerated the exodus of the membership. What was once a church of 600 people 40 years ago shrunk to 400, then 300, then 250. As of now there are 169 members at the church, with no perceivable path to a renewed purpose, plan, or organization. I became a deacon a year ago, right in the middle of one of the bleakest times in the congregation's history.
One interesting thing is that my faith and relationship with God have grown to all-time highs in the past year. Unfortunately, this growth has taken place in spite of our church, rather than because of it. Hard as it may be, it's time to make a serious evaluation of my family's future at this congregation, and what other options are available.
Although I believe God's kingdom is eternal, I also realize that local churches come and go. I've poured all my energy into trying to make sure this congregation had a solid future, but it hasn't worked, and that's okay. These things have a way of working out, and as my grandmother told me a while ago, God's family is available almost anywhere (in this country, at least).
Ray Bradbury once said, "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down."
I'm not building my wings yet, but the plans and materials are in the closet.