The last words of a dying church

June 4, 2014

‘If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.’ Those are the words of General Eric Shinseki, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, who was currently in the news because of the VA scandal. His words ring true!  Especially for churches.

Leadership coach, Brian Dodd blogged it well – ‘There are few things as sad as watching a once great church grow old, become irrelevant, and slowly die. What is worse is that they either don’t know they’re dying or they simply don’t care as long as those remaining are happy. Sadly, I have witnessed this more times than I wish to count. 

Brian continues: Here is what I have noticed about many of these churches – at a pivotal point, a decision was made to continue doing ministry the way they always have, rather than alter their approach to reach a changing community or the next generation. After months of committee meetings and off-line conversations, the church finally utters the The 10 Last Words Of Dying Churches – “We’ve never done it that way before.  We’re not changing.” Those 10 powerful words subsequently have a ripple effect that lasts generations. As a result, the following are 10 additional comments those attending these churches are bound to say and/or hear shortly thereafter:

·  “Isn’t it great that our music is never too loud?”

·  “Isn’t it nice seeing people in coats and ties and not disrespecting God by wearing           jeans and shorts?”

·  “Can you believe that church is stealing all our young people?”

·  “I hear we’re having to cut the budget because giving is not what it used to be.”

·  “Isn’t it great having all this room on the pew to spread out.”

·  “Remember the good ‘ole days.

               ·   “Visitors, please stand.”

               ·   “We just formed a Committee on Committees.”

               ·    “Isn’t it great getting out of the parking lot quickly?”

               ·    “I’m really tired about having to hear about lost people all the time.”

Ouch.  Do any of these phrases hit close to home for you?  For us at Whitewater? 

We are very intentional about creating a relevant environment at all our weekend gatherings for you to invite a person you have been investing in. In fact, our whole church strategy is designed so that we will not become irrelevant to a lost and dying world desperately in need of a church at its best.

We are so serious about this, that our elders have wisely empowered us to embark on a process that will guide us in creating a well-defined strategic plan for the next 3 years. This plan, when completed, will bring clarity to our decision-making and remove barriers of church health and growth which will position us to move confidently into the future in order to better achieve our mission.   

Our elders have invited Bart Rendel and his Intentional Churches Consulting Group to assist us in this process. Bart and his team are experts in assisting churches our size in their strategic planning. Thank you for your prayers as we begin. We will keep you fully informed as we move through this exciting process, and will be asking for your assistance to make the initiatives become reality.

June is now fully here and I would ask you to be fully engaged in the multiple outreach and serving opportunities that keep Whitewater growing in its mission. Three specific events will be focused around three strategic target areas.

DadFest is here! It’s SaturdayJune 14 and it’s an event for all dads. Several key volunteers are still needed to serve.  Dadfest will be followed by FX (Family Experience) June 22 & VBS June 23-26. And then to finish with a heavenly bang, iserve Community, the week of June 28, will help all of us serve in practical ways like Christ.  Which ones do you plan to serve in?  ‘Pick 2’ to grow you this summer!

These are awesome days to be a part of the Whitewater Crossing family. The church here is working right because of the generous and sacrificial commitments you have made. We are indebted to those who worked hard to establish this ministry years ago and now we are poised for new opportunities to serve and reach the lost in exciting and fresh ways. No matter what methods change around here, I promise you that our mission of reaching people far from Jesus will NEVER change.

See you this weekend for the next Wisdom message. I will be back to focus on Wisdom with Sexuality. It will have PG-13 content, so parents – please note that this coming weekend’s message is not appropriate for children, so please take advantage of our excellent Harbortown Kids programming for infants through Grade 5.

Pray for me to be full of grace and full of truth as I speak.


P.S. We had such a big crowd at the 10 a.m. worship gathering last Sunday that we ran out of coffee in our pots!  So glad that’s not the reason you come to church at Whitewater!   We hope to improve.  Note too, that our hot chocolate/cappuccino service will be suspended for the summer. Not to worry though – we’re looking at ways to better serve you this fall.   


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