What Do You Think Is the Most Important Issue Facing the Church?


Going forward, the church faces an uncertain landscape.  What should we be focusing on?  Where should we be directing our energies?

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5 thoughts on “What Do You Think Is the Most Important Issue Facing the Church?

  1. I believe that the ministry of jesus called christ will become even more important as we see the “empire” status of the United States diminish and we have to find our way in a new world (for some of us.) jesus’ emphasis on justice and right relationship and non-violence will give us a chance to minister to an entire nation of people left confused and hurting. i’m not predicting an overthrow here, just the gradual diminishment of our status as “number one” in the world….our country has built an entire identity around that and so have many of our citizens. as we become global citizens, we have a chance through our ministry to set new directions and a new focus….equality and justice for all. As a lesbian, i would like to say that the full inclusion of LGBTQ folk is the biggest thing we have to face but, as important as it is, it is just a symptom of a larger system of injustice….with racism, sexism, ableism, and heterosexism as just some of the major manifestations of that system. The most important thing for us to do in the next ten years is to teach the wildly radically inclusive love of jesus, his commitment to social justice and non-violence AND his way of encompassing the “other” so that we can make these changes peacefully and compassionately. that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

  2. The biggest challenge, I think, will be getting congregations to stop opening the church doors and expecting the world to walk through them. It seems pretty clear that’s not working any more (assuming it ever did), but we still do it and expect different results.

    Jesus never told anybody to go to church. He did, however, tell his followers to go out into the world. If we want to make a difference, and survive as a faith community, we need to listen to Jesus and stop waiting for the world to come to us.

  3. Declining membership, Exodus of Young People, GLBTQ, Social Justice, and the Institution all seem to wrap up in the Cultural Relevance issue, for me at least. Too often, we’ve found ourselves on the other side of those getting out there and being relevant. And it isn’t that we seek to be there, or are there because the other side is wrong. But as a denomination, we are seeking an identity, a place to stand from and work towards. Without our identity, we do support GLBTQ and we also don’t. We do include young voices and we also don’t. We are speaking for Justice and yet we still don’t. Until we get an identity that includes the voices that need to be heard, and truly focuses on the essentials (which don’t include just keeping establishments happy), we will be forced to keep our voices present at the congregational levels. Our institution, err…denomination, cannot be the voice that accurately represents congregations.

  4. Travis, I agree with basically everything you said, only I would flip flop cultural relevance and social justice. If the church is actively pursuing social justice (last time I checked, that’s what Jesus was doing throughout the gospel), then all of the others will fall into place. Including of LGBTQIA et al peoples? Social justice. Interfaith? Social justice. Declining membership and exodus of youth/young adults – cultural irrelevance, which in my opinion is the failure to do social justice. Institutional maintenance? What is the institution for, if not to support the congregations in greater works of social justice?

    I think we could choose multiple paths for cultural relevance; however, I’m not interested in seeing Disciples wander down a prosperity gospel path to relevance, or worse yet, a reactionary path that’s against all advances made since … say the enlightenment? That’s why I think social justice is the path to a legitimate, gospel ground, biblically based relevance to both society and to God.

    And you are correct – we have problems with the denomination trying to chart the course, because it’s not like we’re steering a ship here. Instead, Disciples are more like a fleet of small boats, and it will take some courageous individual congregations/agencies/etc. to start charting a course into long untraveled waters if we expect the rest of the fleet to ever follow.

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