I read a blog this week about a possible split within the Church of the Nazarene and how we might avoid it. It was an interesting read, but honestly I don’t think there will be a “split.” At least there will not be a church split in the traditional sense. By that I mean “Party A” gets mad at “Party B” storms off and starts a new church or movement. Quite frankly, I don’t see a united, passionate storming off by anyone or any group on the right or left of most issues in the Church of the Nazarene. I think church splits on a general church level make for interesting conversation but have little groundswell momentum.
Instead I think what has been happening and what continues to happen is the silent but deadly evaporation of church people into the unknown world of church hoppers, church shoppers, drop-outters and sleeper-inners. We have people leaving because they don’t see the passion and the relevancy of the church. They are leaving because after years of being “silo-ed” into their age group gatherings, they have zero connection to the greater church body. We have people leaving because they fail to see a church captivated by a mission and vision. They are leaving because churches are no longer acting like the Bride of Christ, but look more like the two-timing girl friend of Jesus (we like him sometimes, when it’s convenient).
We can’t fix all the problems in the Church of the Nazarene, but we can make Central Church a place that looks more like the Bride of Christ. Central church does NOT have to accept those ingredients that create a death mix for the church. How? We stick to our priorities. Connecting with God means our worship is alive, vibrant and intent on making disciples; Connecting to Each Other calls for us to be inter-generational and aware that the people sitting along side of us are important no matter their gender, age, color or political affiliation; Connecting to our Community screams for us to be relevant on Bristol Road, in Flint Township and Genesee County. Our neighbors need to know we love them! And Connecting to the World says we are not alone on this spinning globe, but we have a responsibility to be Christ’s ambassadors “to the end of the earth.”
Listen, I have no interest in being the two-timing girlfriend of Jesus. Let’s look and act like the Bride of Christ! Join me in praying for our church and the days ahead.