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The Struggle to Fill Empty Pews

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GETTING OFF OUR BUTS: Making Mission Happen, by Ray Buchanan, is scheduled to be published the first week of July. It begins with a look at our understanding of miracles, and the alarming lack of them in today’s churches. Here is a brief snippet.

There are many who believe the church is no longer relevant for today’s society. Theologians, biblical scholars and church leaders bemoan the fact that the world at large doesn’t seem interested in what the church has to offer. One campaign after another is introduced to fill nearly empty sanctuaries and help dwindling congregations grow.

None of them appear to have offered a lasting solution. Why?  Again, the answer is disturbingly simple.

None of the ubiquitous church growth campaigns really work because none of them truly focus on the real problem. Today’s church has yet to adequately demonstrate to the world that we have anything worth their attention.

 The church needs to understand that the world is not obligated to pay attention to us. It is just that simple. Thinking we have what the world needs and demonstrating it are two completely different things.

If the world can see nothing in the church that cannot be explained in terms of management, program and organization, how is that any different than what takes place outside the church every single day?

 For most people church still implies God. And for most of the world, God still means miracle. A church without miracles is no different than any other small business, corporation or well-meaning civic club. The world knows what to expect from them. Yet, the world doesn’t know what to expect from the church.

 Once the church merits the world listening to us we will get the audience we crave and deserve. Until that time comes, however, the struggle to fill empty pews will continue unabated.

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GETTING OFF OUR BUTS

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I pastored rural United Methodist Churches in Virginia for eight years before beginning what is now more than thirty-five years as a professional hunger fighter. Although I felt called to the pastorate, and I loved being a pastor, I always felt a deep sense of frustration at my inability to help my congregations move off dead center in regard to mission outreach.

All my congregations wanted to make a real difference in the world. All of them wanted to reach out in the name of Christ to be involved in significant mission projects. But none of those congregations were able to make the impact they truly desired. And I lacked the leadership skills necessary to help them.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

Those are the opening words from the Preface of GETTING OFF OUR BUTS: Making Mission Happen, my new book that will be published by Snake Mountain Press this summer. The book is a biblical blueprint for getting congregations and other organizations totally engaged in mission work that can change the world.

There is no reason for any person, group or church not to be actively engaged in making a difference in our broken world. GETTING OFF OUR BUTS is a manual that guides congregations through every step of successful mission work. The book is a easy-to-follow guide to help congregations take the necessary steps to become real leaders in reaching out to those most in need, both in their local communities and around the world.

I will share more excerpts from the book in the coming months.

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