October 2017 Message By The Rev. Ronald J. Baillie

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I have been thinking lately about the challenges that face the church in our country as we move now through the second half of the second decade of this century. How quickly it’s going and how fast things have changed! Below I have listed what I think are five of the major challenges facing churches of all kinds, including Anglican churches.

Challenges for the church in the second decade of the 21st-century:

1- The church is being marginalized
The church of Jesus Christ continues to move steadily away from its once-held position in the center of American civic life and is now moving toward the edges. We, the church, must prepare ourselves for the erosion of rights and privileges we once enjoyed just because we were “the church.”

2- Racial and ethnic tension are going to be with us
For those of us who grew up in the 60s we thought we left racism and ethnic oppression behind. Yet it has raised its ugly head again in American society. We must be ready to preach the gospel in a way that is relevant to the tense environment that exists particularly our cities but also in small towns and suburbs.

3- There is a continuing decrease in biblical literacy
Research shows that 40% of church attendees read their Bible once a month or less. If that is true for “church attendees,” we must assume that even fellow Christians know very little about the Bible, what it says, and its significance for their life.

4- Advances in technology have pros and cons
Technology helps us in many ways to better communicate, to strengthen our worship and education. But it has its liabilities as well including, exhaustion through being hyper-connected, loss of face to face interaction, addictions to things like Internet pornography and online shopping as well as hate filled speech online.

5- The church must reverse its reputation
The church must remind those outside what we stand “for” and not just the things we are against. We stand clearly against sin and rebellion but it’s important to also be just as loud and clear about our compassion for the poor and oppressed, protection for those who are vulnerable and the transformation of our communities into places of peace through the power of the Holy Spirit.

These may seem to paint a grim picture yet the church has always thrived in times of challenge. Some of its greatest growth has been when the culture and government around it has been least supportive. At times of challenge have also been the spark of change in the church, usually very needed change.

Let us all pray that the Lord will continue to do a mighty work within the church and that we will have the courage and commitment to the Gospel to welcome and embrace the changes the Holy Spirit would see for us.

Blessings

Ron+

Posted by Chris Hill in Fr. Ron's Ramblings, 0 comments
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