I’m in the midst of, essentially, a church revitalization project. My mind is often thinking about the current church and church structure as we know it and the future of the church. The question that I often receive from others is “Why?” Typically, they want to know why I just don’t start from scratch or just wait until the current congregation dies off (harsh, yes, but true). One friend even told me that I need to exterminate the current congregation and start anew (a bit harsher still). So here is some organization to those thoughts.
1) The current church structure as we know it wants to get younger (in average age) but may not be willing to make necessary changes in order to do that.
2) For new people coming to Denver, especially people my age, this church is not a way to get connected with people their age. For grandfather and grandmother figures yes, but for a friend to go out on a Friday night, no.
3) Maybe an intermediate community should be started. This community would be distinct from the current church, worship in a different manner, and reach out to younger people. This could be a very intentional community with the goal of embodying the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I use the term intermediate because I would hope that some would join the current church for worship on Sunday mornings and get acquainted with them in that way. But I also realize that it makes some people very uncomfortable. If anything, the hope would be that this intermediate community would form the basis for the future ministry of the church.
4) How can young and old congregations grow and learn together without being integrated? Can two congregations in the same church still have healthy interactions with one another and still remain two separate worshiping communities? In this motif, the young is still able to learn from the old, and the old is still able to learn from the young. Maybe we gather for monthly potlucks together. Or we share a social hour together.
5) At what point do we just need to allow churches to die?