If you walk into a church where most of the hair is gray, where the sanctuary is much too large for the congregation, and those who sit in the pews are scattered all over the church, sitting where they have sat for many years, chances are that this church has an inward focus. If you’re looking for a church where the people love and care for one another, this is it. They may even do some good ministries that care for people outside the walls of the church; but somehow they haven’t learned to connect with people in the community—at least not enough to get them to come to church. The worship and Bible study meet the needs of the people in this church. The fellowship inside the church is warm and friendly, and guests who find their way inside the church are welcome, just not sought after or pursued.
That quote is from a book I recently read called Reaching People Under 40 While Keeping People Over 60: Being Church for All Generations. Great title. Excellent observations. Many of the author’s conclusions are suspect.
God has called local churches to be churches for all ages. Our churches should have thriving children’s ministries. Our churches should have dynamic youth groups. Our churches should have young parents and old parents and grandparents and evangelistic, excited Senior Saints. Our churches should look like many of our families do at reunion time—great-grandma enjoys things as much as the children running around her walker. But if that’s what God has called our local churches to look like, why don’t we? Why do many of our churches look exactly like the description above? Could we be too inwardly focused?
In many of our churches, we love each other and have wonderful fellowship inside our walls. Isn’t it time for us to carry that same love and fellowship out into our communities? That’s not something that can come from pastors and staff. It’s not something that can come from elders. It’s not something that can come from deacons. It’s not something that can come from a plan or a program or a committee. It’s only something that can come from each and every member. God has called us to do it—will we fulfill our call?