This article caught my eye a few months back and I keep going back and mulling over the points raised here. I would love to hear other peoples responses.
I have a real connection with this analogy because I used to work for Kodak, in Elizabeth Street, Coburg. My first job out of school. I started as the export estimator and was confronted with my first strike action only months after starting (1974 I think). Scary because I was in the clerical union and I don’t think they had ever gone on strike before but being told not to come to work but not told how I was going to pay my rent was very daunting for a young country girl in her first job, living in her first apartment in the big city. I was very lucky I went and painted fences on a horse stud for several weeks, it gave me enough to pay the rent and hold on till they let us back to work. But I digress …
Back to the article and my reasons for why I believe we are going to seriously have a kodak moment unless we take a good hard look at what we are doing.
SIGNS OF DEMISE
1. A misunderstanding of mission. Kodak’s leaders thought they were in the film business–instead of the imaging business. Their clutching of the traditional methodology clouded their ability to think about the real objective and outcome of their work. The same is happening in churches that confuse their methodologies and legacies with the real mission. Many church leaders believe they’re in the traditional preaching business, the teaching business, the Sunday morning formula business. Clinging to the ways these things have been done diverts the focus from the real mission of helping people today develop an authentic and growing relationship with the real Jesus.
“Jesus” I hear you say – but is He relevant? Oh Yes my friend , He is very relevant but maybe what you have experienced by way of “Church” or “religion” has not been relevant, or caring, or supportive, or helpful, or understanding, or fair …. the list goes on. For many of us we may well feel the Church has let us down or has a lot to answer for. Sometimes our experiences are years old but they still carry a lot of weight and memories for us today.
2. Failure to read the times. Kodak’s leaders didn’t recognize the pace and character of change in the culture. They thought people would never part with hard prints. They derided the new technology. They assumed that people, even if they wandered off to try digital photography, would return to film-based photos for the perceived higher quality. People did not return. Similarly, church leaders who assume that the current church decline is just a cyclical blip, will be left to sweep out the empty factories of 20th Century religion.
Changing culture doesn’t mean just “doing Church with loud music”. Changing is about really looking at what Youth and their parents are dealing with and providing a support structure that benefits them. Not expecting them to fit in with the Sunday Church structure. I am so pleased my Jesus didn’t spend his days with the agenda of getting people into Church. No, He spent His days healing the sick, casting out demons and setting the captives free! I want more people to meet Jesus, not more people to attend church.
This trailer of an upcoming moving looks interesting. The comment that:
“Somehow we got it in our minds that the Church was the point – the Church is not the point” really resonates with me.
Disclaimer: I am stepping out boldly here to express my thoughts but these views are not necessarily the views of the Combined Churches of Maleny steering committee.
All comments welcomed.