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Read these words of J. Barrett Owen about what it will take to get the mainline church back on track:
We look at the work it’s going to take to rebuild our mainline churches and we’re met with anguish, difficult times and frustration. We feel little to no creativity after examining the debt and despair that creeps past the sanctuary doors. We feel the work it’s going to take to become a necessary influence on the community is enough to cause anyone to give up and walk away. So instead of influencing anybody, we just tell stories of how it used to not be this way. We retreat inward, knowing it’s too painful to think about what we’re not. And, honestly, we find ourselves saying, “I think our movement is dying. We have very little to offer God. Why should we even bother?” We should “bother” because the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, bearing God’s message for the world. We can never forget this. God’s church isn’t dying; we’re on the cusp of thriving. As Eugene Lowry says, “We’re dancing the edge of mystery.” It’s for this reason we must gather together and change our collective consciousness. The future for the church lies in the hearts and souls of each of us. But as long as we are a people who care more about retreating inwardly, giving up on being an outward expression of God’s kingdom, then this collective consciousness remains. If we choose, though (and I believe it’s our choice), to become passionate about social justice, offering peace instead of war, giving hope to a future that needs it, educating all people, loving all people, blessing all people, practicing authentic spirituality, worshiping as a community, and praying for the brokenhearted, then the church is forever needed. We can escape the turmoil in our own exile when we realize the church isn’t dying. We just have to start listening to the voice of the living God in each of us. That voice is telling us to change our collective consciousness. I no longer see myself pastoring a dying church. I see myself pastoring God’s people, who are a few strokes away from offering something worth living for, community, love and identity to all who need it. When our collective consciousness changes, the church will, too.
Thoughts? More here. Todd

What if I told you that you could attract visitors… almost effortlessly? Have the financial resources to pay down your debt and build a surplus in your church budget? Reach your community in meaningful ways? Develop new leaders who are ‘delighted’ to take on key responsibilities, thus giving you more time? Take care of church conflicts, almost effortlessly? Renew your energy, your passion, and feel more satisfied as a pastor? Well you can.  For four easy payments of $47.50.  With the Church Leader Success System. I admit.  I’m skeptical. But wait.  There’s more. I can set a vision that reaches people… even people who aren’t already in my church. I can find my own unique strengths and use them to grow the church. I can influence people so that they’ll be on my side. Sound too good to be true? I’ll also get 24/7 email support for… not a month… not six months… a full year! “Similar programs charge over $500.” “But you don’t have to pay $500, or even $200.” Thankfully, there are ‘no free bonus gimmicks to persuade me to buy’. And, if I do it today, I can get special charter-member pricing. But that’s not a gimmick… really. Crap.  There’s no overnight shipping.  I’m out.