Imperfect Church, part 9
Time to get a move on here, so in this post I'll deal with several of Sjogren's "paths"s to becming a "perfectly imperfect church." Path 8, which he calls Trusting, is about small groups. Small groups, he says, are the best way to build disciples, equip leaders, and maintain healthy body life. If you've read other books on small groups you'll find nothing new here. Path 9 is Atmospheric (I'm not sure we use that word in East Texas - must be an Ohio thing). Atmosphere (East Texans do use that word), he says, is "what people feel in a church." We help the atmosphere by allowing coffee in the sanctuary, paying attention to lighting, color, temperature, and seating in the worship space, and the flow of the service itself. Path 10 is Generosity. A healthy church is not stingy with its resources and through its acts of generosity - with outsiders, with other churches - trains its people to be generous. Of these three paths (Trusting, Atmospheric and Genrosity), I think this might be the biggest leverage point for the struggling church. In my experience fear is a major factor in the struggling church. Will we be able to keep the doors open? Will we be able to keep our own children in church? Will we be able to pay the bills? The natural response to money worries is to hang on more tightly to what one has. Stinginess seems to wise - and we know being wise is somehow connected to being godly. In the process we miss God - who is generous beyond our wildest imagination.