Seeing Pew Forum’s website (www.pewforum.org) this month, you’ll notice the most obvious headline if you’re head hasn’t been in the icebox. (that reference should date me a bit.) The headline reads “U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious”. Outside AND inside the church, there are quickly becoming tons of nones, and dones– folks no longer buying what the church is selling, or folks who simply dont want to play that game anymore. Many see it as a sign of America going to hell in a hand-basket, while we in the optimistic camp see the most opportune moment in the American Church- to finally become what we were intended to be; The most joyfully adventuring, boldly risk-taking, creatively mission-centered people, in the trenches for good against evil, with Jesus as our Lord. Every category in Christian demographics has fallen the last 7 years, but instead of shouting proudly “Why, LORD!!??” Let’s ask humbly, “Why, Lord?”.
Anna and I would like to encourage any, all, or a few of our Alexandria area friends to join us for a special, hopeful Sunday morning at Catalyst Covenant Church this Sunday Dec 6th @ Woodland Elementary 1410 South McKay Avenue. Why? Because Jesus, that’s why! We are helping Catalyst Covenant, and been given a passion to help central MN believers dream that there could be more to be found in the way we live as God’s rescue people, rediscovering new forms of ecclesia in our 21st century world, anchored with God’s ancient truths in the new testament as our blueprint. We will worship, pray, talk, discuss, banter a bit, and give hugs if you know what kind of people we are- yes, huggers. Anna, the boys, and I would love to see you there and be a part of seeing Jesus, and His true Church rise up to joyfully engage our culture with the simple and powerful invitation to experience the Father’s love, and become His family of rescue and redemption to our broken and beaten world.
We will leave you with this simple graph from Pew Forum- it simply shows that more of the same thing simply will not do anymore. The definition of organizational insanity is doing the same thing over and over will lead to vastly different results. Could it be that our church forms have been variations of the ‘same thing’ year after year, and caused us some of the cultural gap that we find ourselves in? Blasphemy!
This Sunday we will be inviting His Spirit to put forth a vision, based out of Ephesians 4, how we could recover the simple, yet amazingly profound, plan of God for us His Church, and become united and mature together as a family on Jesus’ mission in our cities.
For those that need some scripture to hang this on, let me try. Could it be in John 21, that those disciples were avoiding the mission Jesus had for them, and instead chose to go back to their old job, fishing with one another, and avoiding the world around them that needed the gospel? Could it be Jesus showed up in verses 5-6 to invite them to do things differently, trusting Him for a different approach to fishing, something so simple (yet amazingly profound) as throwing their net to the other side? And the result? They weren’t able to haul it all in because there were so many fish!
We humbly and respectfully submit to you, this simple teaching of Jesus;
Let us trust Him that He still knows what He is doing today for His plans.
Let us trust Him that He still loves His Bride, the Church as His ‘Plan A’.
Let us trust Him to speak to us all, showing us the right way to fish.
Let’s trust Him together, to show us where we need to change and be willing to risk things for Jesus.
See you this Sunday 10AM at Catalyst Covenant! We would be so encouraged to see you, and I know Pastor Jim and the Catalyst family would love to have you participate with our Sunday together as well. People will be sharing, encouraging, edifying one another because we believe all people who share in His Spirit can build others up (1 Cor 14).
Grace and Peace to our hometown, Alexandria, this advent season!
-The Pankratz Family