By Loretta Fulton
Does the church still matter?
Despite evidence that it doesn’t–judging from the number of “nones” or those who check “none” on religion surveys–people in need know better. Just ask people along the Texas coast who are looking for Good Samaritans, Randy Harris advised during a program he led Aug. 26 on whether the church stills matters in today’s culture.
“The people who will rebuild those communities will be the church,” Harris said, “because they always are.”
Just try imagining what would happen in the world if all the churches disappeared. It wouldn’t be pretty.
“You would see a collapse that would just be stunning,” Harris said.
Harris, an Abilene Christian University religion professor and spiritual director, addressed a large crowd of ACU faculty and staff, as well as members of the community at a luncheon Aug. 26.
Harris listed seven areas of concern or areas where the church must take the lead:
- We have totally failed with young men.
- We have to take responsibility for speaking to our culture on ethics, i.e., is torture right? We have to think about “what’s right,” not “what works.”
- Think about what it means to do truly biblical preaching…witness of the Scriptures to Jesus Christ. What is the word of the Lord?
- Leaders need to be non-anxious witnesses.
- How do we deal with the profound spiritual problem of distraction? Just getting people to show up. Go with those who show up. Learn to work with it.
- We need to be very cautious about accepting a consumerist model — “A church that meets our needs. Even if you win you lose. It is NOT all about you”
- Remind people that the church is the church of God. 1 Corinthians is addressed to, “the church of God in Corinth.” Ephesians 1 refers to “the fullness of Him.”
Harris said one of the major problems facing the church now is the lack of young men. If the trend keeps up, he said, the church will face a full-blown crisis in 25 years. Most ministries in any church are led by women, Harris noted.
He was quick to add that he didn’t want women to step down, but for men to step up and serve alongside them. Without women filling the ministry roles, the church would be in dire straits.
“We can’t do anything if they quit on us,” Harris said.