Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


More of The Present Future

I mentioned yesterday that I meet with a group of Episcopal clergy to discuss the future of the church and how we can better prepare for the changes brought about by our changing cultural landscape. That group has read and just discussed The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church by Reggie McNeal. Here are some more quotes from the book itself:
The deal is this: we have assumed that if people come to church often enough they will grow. We've got to be much more intentional than this.
Let me ask you: If the world could be changed through conferences and seminars, wouldn't it have happened a long time ago? We don't need a conference on prayer. We need people to pray!
I can tell you within minutes of arriving on a church campus whether or not a guiding vision is operative, Does the landscaping look like it's been left up to God to take care of? Does anyone greet me when I enter? Are staff members begging for volunteers? (I don't mean recruiting—that goes on in organizations with vision. I mean begging, badgering, cajoling, guilting people into service.) Are lackluster or mediocre efforts expended on ushering, singing, custodial services, teaching, signage, and so on?
I know plenty of churches that have capitalized on their strengths in the face of glaring weaknesses. In fact, their strength is what fills in their brand content, gives them ministry identity, and distinguishes them from the pack.
The key is the presence of mission. Missionless religion that calls itself Christianity is an affront to God, however it styles itself.
Basically, he sees that the institutional church, which is about and for the institution, is dying out. In a postmodern culture, fewer and fewer people will be interested in supporting the institution for its own sake. However, he remains convinced that the mission of God in the world begun in Jesus, will continue and will prevail. He is against churchianity and for a return to Christianity, which he feels will be more like the book of Acts than recent years of church history.

That's his take. As I have been big on saying that we need to set about BEING the Body of Christ, and emphasized the mission of the church as serving our community in Jesus' name and so spreading the Gospel beyond our walls, I tend to agree with him. What do y'all think?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Missionary

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  • At 4/14/2010 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Interesting --- the post modern church, emerging church, deconstructing Christianity (and Judaism, and God, and, and ---) We are back in a movement of "throw out the money changers" as in Jesus' time, and a time when the Temple and Priests and unnecessary rituals and rules (that all included an exchange of money) were the focus rather than worshiping God and helping the unfortunate. Turning a "Church" (temple, mosque) into a MISSION --- now that's something to look forward to! Don't need a building for it -- just faithfulness and a decision to live intentionally. Not as easy as "religion" but more fulfilling every single day!

  • At 4/14/2010 10:56 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    Their brand content.....? Are we really to the point of seeing the Church this way? Where do we stop trying to mold the church into something palatable to the culture in which we find ourselves?

    Reminds me of a congregation that once upon a time changed it's name from Lord __ ___ ___ to Joy. In my opinion it was a fatal mistake. Too generic, too noncommittal, not enough genuine worship. We are called to be the salt and the light, not the warm and fuzzy faith you can put down and take up when the situation requires it.

    When do we quit asking the Church to conform to the standards of the world and start insisting that the world conform to the Church and its teachings?

  • At 4/14/2010 11:13 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    Today Fr. Stephen on his blog "Glory To God For All Things" ( says:

    "God cannot be chosen or consumed as though He were a product among products. Neither is He an idea or slogan to which we may give allegiance."

  • At 4/15/2010 7:49 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    While the quote above with brand content is from the text, it is a very anti-marketing, anti-give in to the culture book, where he says that the church in North America has by and large become more secular than the culture.

    It is interesting however for an author seeking to overturn the consumer mindsight that he still uses such a consumer term. If he means, this is what your congregation will be known for in the community, it probably still does not help.

    It's not that the church meets our needs, but that through the church we discovery needs—worshipping and serving God—that we may never have known we had.

    Thanks for commenting here. Since I started an RSS feed to post these on my Facebook page each day, I receive little comment here and so less productive back and forth like this.



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