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  • Writer's pictureChrist United

Asking the Right Question

I feel like the question on many Christian’s minds, including my own, has been something along the lines of, “What are we doing wrong?”

We have less people in our sanctuaries and worship spaces - it must be because we are doing something wrong.

We have less kids in church - it must be because we are doing something wrong.

We have less money in the offering plates - it must be because we are doing something wrong.

This question, “What are we doing wrong?” then turns us inward. We blame ourselves. Our inner dialogue is, “It has to be, it must be, because we ourselves are doing something wrong.”

A Better Question…?

I asked a different question a few weeks ago during worship, when we did the first post-it note exercise: What do you enjoy about Christ United? What that question was really asking was, what are we doing right at Christ United?

People wrote down a lot of different things - enough to fill up the entire bulletin board.

It was an effort to get us all to not focus on the negatives, but to focus on the positives. Not because we shouldn’t look at the negatives - we should. But to focus on the positives that were definitely happening here.

Because whatever we focus on, is what will happen.

If we focus on decline and not enough people in church, then that is what will continue to happen. If we focus on what we are doing well and the positive impact that is making on people, then that will continue to happen.

What Are We Doing Right?

We have been trying a lot of new things here at Christ United. This is what I have believe we need to do. We began offering a new form of worship a year ago with Meditative Worship. We offered new studies with “The Chosen” series. We added a “Faith Word of the Week” to worship. We offer an LGBTQIA+ Bible study.

Innovate, experiment, try new things. That has been my drumbeat, my mantra, my personal mission statement over the last few years.

The Right Question

Perhaps the correct question isn’t “What are we doing right?” or “What are we doing wrong?”

Perhaps the better question is, “What is church?” Perhaps it means going back to the basics.

My own definition of church is: a group of people gathering together seeking answers from and an experience with God. The specific way we do that is by learning and mimicking Jesus. Jesus is and should be the focus of all that we do.

I think offering a space where people can gather to be with other people who are seeking some kind of experience of God, is worth doing. Yes, there are ways to do that wrong. Yes, it has been done wrong through the centuries. But it’s still worth doing.

The Future

The questions we are asking, are going to take a big God to answer. Luckily, as Christians, we do have a big God. A God who works wonders. A God who resurrects God’s son to live forever. A God who from death, brings life.

“What is church?” will continue to be on my mind. And I will continue to have a working definition that is ever evolving and changing.

While more new things and changes will come, other things won’t change: The belief that Jesus is who saves us - and we don’t need to do anything for that. The belief that God is with us. The belief that it is a good thing to figure out what God wants, and that we can actually figure it out.

And the belief that Christ United Church in Dewitt still has a part in God’s plan.

Thanks be to God.

Pastor Alex

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