Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Consequences of Easter for Dying Churches

Bishop Will Willimon:

Since Jesus Christ is raised, let loose, invading a world, returning to the very people who betrayed him, then we work not alone. The risen Christ goes before us. We serve a God who lives to raise the dead--even us. Therefore, we work with hope--not hope in ourselves and our efforts, but with hope in Christ.

A couple of years ago, a District Superintendent paid me one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received. He had told a pastor of our interest to move him to a different church. “I can’t do this,” responded the pastor. “That church is dead. It’s been dying for years and now I hear it’s really dead.” The DS replied, “I’ll tell the Bishop but let me warn you, this guy really believes that Easter is true. To tell him a pastor or a church is dead means nothing to him. He just sees death as an opportunity to see what Jesus can do.”

Via Richard Hall, who writes:

It’s strange how many Christians say they believe in the resurrection but yet are prepared to write off those they think are dead or dying. “The church will only succeed,” they say, “if it does/doesn’t do X” (which usually amounts to “if the church listens to me”).

But Bishop Willimon is right: We serve a God who lives to raise the dead–even us.


Keith H. McIlwain said...

Fascinating stuff. Willimon is awfully wise. I wish the entire Council of Bishops were as theologically consistent!

Michael said...

Wow, wow, and wow. So simple and yet so profound but also pretty bothersome that any would find this concept unique.