I grew up on Furr’s. Maybe you’re more of a Luby’s fan. I remember going to Furr’s with my parents and grandparents. There would always be a line.
Eventually, it would be my turn to grab a tray. I would be sure to keep my fingers on the inside of my tray so my neighbors in line wouldn’t smash them. Looking down the long line of food options, I teetered on the verge of being overwhelmed, but I found a sense of security in knowing that they will have something that I would like. And at the end of the line, I always knew there would be jello.
It was not long ago that churches in our society functioned like cafeteria lines. People could pick and choose what they liked best. If someone preferred more Spirit-led, free-flowing styles of worship, great. They could find it. If someone preferred more traditional worship with hymns and a formal liturgy, great. They could find it.
While this is still true of today’s church scene, what has changed is the “customers.” There’s no longer a line at the door.
It was a time when pastors would be trained in preaching, leading worship and bible studies, and pastoral care. While these are still important skills for pastors to have, they are no longer sufficient.
The challenges that the Church in our society is facing are not technical or strategic challenges. There is not a new skill to acquire or a better approach to take. We don’t know the way forward based on where we’ve been. There is no silver bullet.
Instead, the challenge that the Church in our society is facing is an adaptive challenge, a challenge that requires wholesale transformation of individuals and a community of faith.
Lewis and Clarke were prepared to canoe to the Pacific Ocean. They were trained, equipped, and ready. And then, they found themselves face-to-face with the Rocky Mountains. They were not prepared for that.
They had to adapt.
As we face an uncertain future, may we gaze ahead with confidence, sure of the God that calls us forward.