The Wild West

“It’s the wild west – who knows how this will go?” Another pastor I met this past week said this in passing after another day of presentations around the state of the Church. Not his church or my church but the Christian Church in North America. In a nutshell, the church is in trouble.

And, of course, I wondered about how many at River of Hope would think “the church in America is in trouble.” I mean, there were pastors in the room at this conference I attended where this was NEWS. They were getting ‘woke, so to speak. So if pastors are in denial, I wondered if you, dear reader, have been able to see the writing on the wall either? (Just so you don’t miss my point – I am disappointed in pastors who are just opening their eyes to this reality. I don’t think the majority of church has eyes open to this trend yet.)

I read Seth Godin’s daily blog and was intrigued by a post a few weeks back. It made me think about Church in Hutchinson and Church beyond Hutchinson and what we think the reality is.  (His daily blog can be found here. Check him out.) Here is the post:

Look around

Proximity matters a great deal.

Detroit car executives in the 1970s and 1980s consistently failed to respond to the threat from Japanese imports. They weren’t merely arrogant—they were blinded by proximity. Everyone in their neighborhood, everyone on their commute, everyone in their parking lot was driving an American car. How could there be a problem?

We define the universe around us as normal. It’s one of the only ways to stay sane—we assume that the noise in our head is in the head of other people, that what we yearn for or buy is what others do as well. And we look to the world around us for confirmation.

This truth can take us to two insights:

  1. if you want to understand what part of the world is really like, you should make special efforts to surround yourself with that world. If you market to bodegas, consider taking an apartment upstairs from a bodega.
  2. there’s a huge bonus to being famous to the family. If you can be locally dominant, the locals will instinctively decide that you are globally dominant. Have 100 customers in one neighborhood (virtual or real) is worth much much more than having one customer in each of 100 neighborhoods.

Here are my questions that this blog post stirs up in me:

Look around, what do you see around you?  What new place should you go so that you see new people, new situations, new stories? Is what is happening locally happening nationally? And hey, what is happening locally anyway? What’s your experience of church (River of Hope or otherwise)? What do you think the future of the church is? How are you part of that future?

Stay tuned. I’m going to keep writing about this. Join me in the wild west, won’t you?

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