The justifiers explain why our demise is inevitable.
They sound a lot like the blamers, but they’re not as angry. Some of them sound quite scholarly, actually.
They have 1000 well-thought out reasons why the church is struggling, and will gently point out that resistance is futile. No one can make it in this economy, they point out. And the reason they’re not growing has nothing to do with them.
The resigners are the least fiery of the bunch.
They have reduced blame to the occasional passionless remark. If you push them, they’ll explain why things aren’t working. But mostly, they just go about their day without a vision for the future.
Decline and demise are inevitable, and their job is to ignore the signs around them and pastor a few people until it’s time to finally close the door. In a post-modern, post-Christian, pluralistic world, they feel they really can’t compete. So they don’t.
The repenters are the rarest group.
They see the problems and the cultural shift, but rather than point blame outward, they assign responsibility inward.
They confess the sins not of the culture, but of the church. Or more specifically, they confess their own sins. They realize the problem is that when we have a sacred truth that isn’t connecting, the problem isn’t with the sacred truth, but with those who bear it.
They pray, fast, weep and then they do something even more remarkable. They change. They reform. Did you ever notice the Reformation started first with confessing the sins of the existing church? People repented, and out of repentance came renewal.
When you adopt the posture of repentance, anything and everything can change.
If you start with repentance, it never ends there. Repenting releases fresh possibilities. I believe a church that confesses will be around 100 years from now.
A repentance church might even reverse the trend completely.
What do you think the predominant response of the church has been to our pending ‘demise’?
Is there any category you might add?
And, finally, where are you in your attitude, and where do you need to be?