GA is coming, that’s Presbyterian Speak for our large governmental gathering “General Assembly” where we discuss worrying things like Our Investments (or not) in Israel, How important gay issues really are (or aren’t), and……the fact that there are no young people in the church. Debate will ensue about most of these issues, except the last one. There is no governmental amendment to magically change the demographics of the church
There will be lots of worrying about the drop in membership, the drop in money and the drop in young people in the church.
People will ask where have the people gone? They will also ask why people won’t represent (Particularly the lay people), they will ask where the children are….and they will worry…
However, I do believe that at most churches, Presbyteries and even on the GA floor the wrong question is being asked. The question that really asked isn’t Where are all the people.
The worry IS about the emptiness.
But I think the question people are really asking are not “Where have all the people gone?” but rather “Where has Jesus gone?”
Because, if Jesus was in church, then wouldn’t the people be in church? If Jesus was here, wouldn’t people flock to us and what we are doing?
Here I have to confess: I believe Jesus is in the church!
But I also believe Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit is already at work in the world. I believe that church doesn’t hold a monopoly on God (our God is bigger than that)
and I believe that the emptiness the church is feeling is real and is scary….I also believe we have felt it before, when Jesus died on the cross, when the tomb was empty, when Jesus Ascended, when the church was scattering across Africa, etc. etc.
The church is empty, but what can we theologically learn from that emptiness
Maybe Jesus will find us in our church and ask us….
You are afraid of the emptiness? Look at what God did with an empty tomb!
(and p.s. if you want more families to be present I highly recommend BABYSITTING and FAMILY FRIENDLY accommodations as a start, it isn’t an amendment that will bring families flocking in, but it is a way to serve those who are already present–this should not be an uphill battle folks, it should be a given)