Maybe you’ve decided to give up sugar or meat or chocolate for Lent. Whatever.
I wonder if we would be willing to give up something for someone else for Lent. Almost every day of my life, I’m in conversations with Good Church People about their anxieties regarding their congregations.
You know these anxieties. They have to do with survival. They are worried about “the young people” or the cash flow. But there is a reliable cure for this.
If we are willing to give up at least some of the things we love about our church for the sake of those who are not yet with us, we will thrive as a congregation. For example:
- Would we be willing to give up some of the back pews in the sanctuary if it meant that young parents could rock their babies or play quietly with older children in the newly freed-up space?
- Would we be willing to give up the dress code if it meant that people without clean clothes would feel welcomed?
- Would we be willing to change the music for people who experience God’s love with different instruments?
- Would we be willing to offer some educational offerings off church grounds if it meant that people would feel safer?
What would you be willing to give up for your neighbors to join you in spiritual community? It’s a real question for those of us who want our congregations to grow.
Something to ponder on this Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent.
Image of removing church pews from a church sanctuary.