Our Crowne Plaza launch is just a week away and we are really excited. This is the final post in a series of posts looking at what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. If you haven’t had a chance, take a look at the last two weeks.
This week, just some final thoughts.
The Pew Research Organization reports a figure that I think is amazing. 10% of all Americans identify themselves as former Catholics. One of the largest religious designations in the country is former Catholic. Think about it: 10% of all Americans…and that doesn’t even include the “Christmas & Easter” Catholics, the lapsed Catholics, and all the other “Catholics” who are barely even in the Church; 10% of all people in this country identify themselves as having deliberately decided to leave the Catholic Church and now have no Church. That’s about a third of all baptized Catholics.
That information alone would suggest that the Catholic Church was headed for extinction in our lifetime. Coupled with similar information coming from mainline Protestant Churches it could look like the whole future of Christianity was in serious doubt.
We believe that the Church, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is being built by Christ in every generation but we believe that in our generation Christ is building powerfully. We believe that God wants to do great things in our generation and through us. We believe that God has chosen this time to move his Church to a new place of influence and impact in the world, beyond denominational boundaries and historic divisions. We believe that local church/parish communities are a powerful place that God chooses to work when we are willing to go where he is blessing, and not get hung up on the past or worship of the status quo.
From our perspective, here are some hallmarks of this “movement” or “moment” that we hope are reflected in our Crowne Plaza project.
1. Preaching the Gospel: not a watered down Bible study, not a boring history lesson, not a song and dance pulpit performance for the comfortably convinced; the sometimes difficult to hear, always tough to follow, life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Preaching life change in accessible ways to members and new comers, students and kids.
2. Fueling interest and excited for Jesus and his Kingdom. Being a part of what God is doing in the world, being a part of how Jesus’ Kingdom is coming. Reflecting that interest and excitement in the excitement and excellence we bring to our worship, ministry and service.
3. Making Church less about consumption and more about contribution and commitment.
Getting people to understand that a Church is not effective when the pastor tries to minister to everyone and do everything. But rather when the body of believers ministers to the body, embracing the fact that God has gifted, equipped and empowered them to serve him by serving others through his Church, the Church is being the Church.
4. Leveraging technology as a tool for increasingly reaching the world with the Word. Creatively using technology in every aspect of our Church life. Being fearless in our creativity.
5. Cooperating with other churches and denominations, across borders and former boundaries. Learning from other churches, even when we don’t agree with everything they teach.
6. Radical reorientation from being “all about us” to being “all about those who aren’t here.”
7. Changing lives in our community, changing enough lives in our community that our community is impacted and begins to change. Calling forth the considerable resources of this community for Christ. Service in the name of Christ to spread the fame of Christ locally, nationally and internationally.
Crowne Plaza is a cultural shift, not a tactical addition. Crowne Plaza makes us a fundamentally different church community, at least for the period of our experiment. Crowne Plaza changes our perspective as well as our practice. It changes the way we are church in our community. We’re not just multiplying sites and seats, we’re trying to multiply the impact of the Gospel.
Here’s what you can do:
Pray that through this Crowne Plaza project God teaches us more about serving his will. And if it be his will, that some of those ten-percenters in our community show up at Crowne Plaza.
Invite someone you know, someone who doesn’t have/doesn’t like Church to join us at Crowne Plaza.