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July 20, 2005

What Happened?

Lyle Schaller has a new book out called "A Mainline Turnaround". I have just started reading this book but as most books do it really sparked some conversations within me. In his first Chapter he writes about “What Happened?" to the mainline churches. In one of the beginning paragraphs he writes, "Why did the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City collapse on September 11, 2001? The National Institute of Standards and Technology subsequently concluded the combination of the intense heat, the inadequate fireproofing, the design of the floor trusses, the grade of the steel used in the construction, and other variables in the design meant that the buildings could crumble if the unexpected should happen. The unexpected came on a sunny September morning when the fuel-laden wings of two commercial aircraft traveling at nearly 600 miles per hour cut through those exterior walls and the fuel ignited."

The buildings failed because they met with conditions they were not designed to respond to. Schaller believes that Mainline Churches are crumbling because we have met conditions we were not designed to meet. Schaller asks a very piercing question, “When the actual outcomes do not match the desired results, whom do we blame?" Schaller lists three reasons that our churches are crumbling.

1. Inadequate human resources--We simply have not produced the leaders we need for today.
2. We have designed our churches "...to serve a foreseeable set of circumstances. When the circumstances changed on us we did not change our systems
3. It is three times as difficult to be an effective pastor today as it was in 1955. Peoples' expectations of the pastor have changed and the context in which we live and do ministry has changed.

Schaller lifts up some interesting challenges for us but in this book he also lifts up a word of hope and seeks to point us in a helpful direction. This is informative and inspirational. I suggest that you read the book.

Posted by Bishop at July 20, 2005 10:56 AM