Brett posted a great thought on church life-cycles HERE. In it, he writes, "At some point the church stops reaching out beyond itself and turns its attention to the maintenance of internal workings. And on that day whether it was a conscious decision or just something that happens, the church begins it's slow process toward death."
It's easy to be a missional risk-taker when we have nothing to lose. It's when we suddenly find ourselves possessing something we want to hold onto (a reputation, a building, an attendance number, etc.)... then the ol' protect & survive mechanism kicks in. It happens in churches, businesses, & even individuals.
When we're young, we terrify our parents with the huge risks we take. But when we're old... well, something changes in our heart. As a pastor of a church that is largely older folks, it bums me out (theological term) to see how many senior citizens are more concerned with their life-prolonging medications than their lost neighbors. How's that verse go again? "...Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." I'm thinking of printing "Dead Man Walking" on church name-tags as a reminder that this physical life is temporary & that surivival-based-caution is a poor substitution for all-out-reckless-love. (...maybe not such a good idea for the older folks ... but still something worth reflecting on.)
(Please be praying... Mike Scheid and Aaron 'n Randi Eshelman are on mission trips with their youth groups this week.)