An exciting initiative is developing at Redeemer
to connect people with one another and define our identity as a church. 

M.O.V.E....Together in Passionate Discipleship 


M..otivate O..rganize  V..alue  E..ncourage


To find out more about CONNECTIONS contact Pastor Newbold

 

 

May 2017

Recently I came upon a story in the news about atheists starting churches.  This wasn’t about folks who suddenly “got religion” and decided to start a “church”;  this was about non-believing people creating  church-like communities in which people come together to do...well…”churchy” things such as care for one another, serve the needy, and generally try to be better people.   Apparently they realized their need for church, but just one without all the God stuff.

That idea may not be as ridiculous as it might sound.  Atheists, after all, are human, and some are recognizing that a large part of the experience of church involves human connectedness in community.   As one atheist congregant said: “I wanted to know that when I get sick, someone is going to bring me a casserole.”

I don’t know if this atheist church thing will catch on, but I do know that the institutional church of today is in significant decline.  Our society is markedly less religious than it was a generation ago, according to recent studies.  We have reason to believe that this trend    already reflected in diminishing participation throughout the Church     will grow in years to come.  

Whatever spiritual inclinations younger people may have, they are less and less likely to find the institutional church as a place to express these inclinations.  Tired of the cliché “spiritual, not religious”?  Get used to it. 

Within the institutional church (that is, among people like me) there is a good bit of hand-wringing over this state of affairs as we lament the church that “used to be.”  To the degree that this presents institutional uncertainty, this amounts to a crisis.  But as the Church, founded on the Resurrection, this presents us with tremendous opportunity. 

Jesus himself said, “the harvest is plentiful,”  and I believe that is no less true today as it was in the 1st century.  There is no shortage of people longing for connectedness.  There is no shortage of people thirsting for truth, especially in this “post-truth” age.   Consequently, there is no end to the mission opportunity when the church understands its purpose as fulfilling a deeply-rooted, human need:  connection, with God and with one another.

The Church has always been about connection on some level, but, unfortunately, institutional concerns have sapped the Church’s energy and diverted its focus.  With its gaze turned inward and its purpose unclear, the institution of church becomes increasingly irrelevant in the eyes of those who need it most.  The institution is important, but only insofar as it serves the Church’s primary focus: connection with God and with one another. 

Longing for a life of meaning, purpose and connectedness, to one another and that which is much larger than ourselves? Maybe the atheists can help remind us what we are really all about.

+ Pr. Tom Kildea