Real questions.

Real relationships.

Real God.

It’s part of an ad campaign for a local IC.  Their numbers are dwindling.  Enthusiasm is waning and they’ve Got To Do Something.  Reading the billboard I wondered, What were they about before – fake questions? Facades? A false, flimsy God?

Look at those tag lines a little closer.  What do they suggest?  Several possibilities come to mind.  One is that this IC is waking up to the fact that its fading.  Fast.  Another is the realization that to many, a traditional, institutional church service is as appealing as a cold plate of canned spinach – and the last place in the world they want to engage.   If they’re vertical and breathing, most folks want their lives to count, to plug in to something that matters – and the IC doesn’t? Perhaps realizing that its current format is falling short, this IC is trying to draw in new people, reach out, and boost attendance.

My question is this: once these “newbies” are folded in to this particular IC, then what?  How much will they be expected to give in terms of time, treasure and talent (to re-use an over-used cliche)?  Which channels will they have to navigate?  What bureaucracies will they have to battle as they try to find a place to be “real”?  How many classes or discipleship programs will they have to attend before someone higher up the food chain deems them “qualified” to use their spiritual gifts?  How many ministry “slots” will open up for these folks, or will provincialism and turf wars reign supreme?  Who will be willing to give up their spot in the institutional hierarchy to make way for these new people to serve?  Which Board members will step aside so others can step up?

Best guess: slim to nil.

What’s that again about “real”?

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