Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Museum or Mission

Source: "What Will We Be?" by Rev. Bill Ivins. Advance Newsletter of First United Methodist Church of Vernon, Texas. September 18, 2006.

Keywords: museum, tradition, vitality, life

A member of our church has an acquaintance in Quanah who happens to be a Russian immigrant. A few months ago, her Russian friend was in Vernon on business, so she decided to show the woman around our church building. Upon completing the tour, the Russian remarked, "Your church looks like a museum."

I'm glad she noticed how beautiful our building is. But think about it: A museum is a repository of the past. Is that what a church is called to be--a repository of the past?

A few years ago, I had an opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in England. During my trip, I visited church after church that had been converted into museums (repositories of the past), while the neighborhoods around were teaming with scores of lost people who don't know Christ.

While there, I worshipped in a Methodist Church that rented space in a community building. The dwindling and aging membership could no longer afford to maintain its beautiful old edifice built in the 19th Century. The old building had been sold and turned into an art gallery. That same story is being repeated all across America too.

Church memberships dwindle and become repositories of the past when congregations lose sight of who Christ calls them to be.

So what will we be? I don't intend to see our church become a repository of the past but a mission station for the future. I invite you to join me in making certain that we continue to be a mission station.

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