If you are over 40 years of age, we all have something in common with each other. It is how we relate to a world that is living increasingly without Christ. Sometime in our lifetime we were exposed to the church being in a building and a popular movie told us to "build it and they would come". We've been waiting ever since!
Around the same time in our lives we were exposed to Relational Evangelism, but we said, "If Evangelism Explosion was good enough for the 70's, it's good enough for the 80's and 90's."
By the 90's we thought that a vital Children's Ministry would bring them in and it did, but we didn't know what to do with the parents, except put them in an unpopular Sunday morning study, or put them to work helping out in what??? The Children's Ministry. We thought the parents had not had enough of the kids during the week and surely would not want some adult time. Maybe we just needed vast numbers of parents to make it work.
Now, I've said a lot of this with "tongue in cheek". I wish it was as simple as I've stated it. A whole book could be written about our transition from the 70's to late in the first decade of the 21st century. What bothers me is that the gap between us Christians and the world is widening!
Today there are a lot of 20 and 30 Somethings who have never been to church. Their children will not go to church unless something profound happens. If they are lucky, maybe a high school campus ministry will reach them, but if we wait for them like we've done for so long, our churches will not reach them.
We, the over 40 crowd in our churches, have got to change. We have got to start going to them. We need to know how to welcome people to our churches, but that is only if someone is coming, or there is a chance that someone will come. As my son-in-law, Steve Corn, would say, "We need to become "The Welcomed". That will only happen if we are going out into the marketplace and creating such a love that they will be glad to have you around them.
I'm sure I'll have more to say about this in the days ahead. Until then, think about what the lost around you need. Obviously, it is Jesus, so don't go there. That is a given. Don't tell me church. They don't know that they need the "family" and there are some families they would do better without. The question is--what do they need and how do we get an audience to be the provider??