October 1914 the world had gone to war for the first time ad while the United States decided to remain neutral for now, there is no doubt the citizens feared we would get drawn into the world gone mad for war.
In my local community, a different kind of history was in the making. Four churches would team up to celebrate community, Sunday School, and missions. Thus the York Richland Township Fellowship of Steuben County Indiana was born. All 4 churches would meet in the local schoolhouse for a Sunday of games, learning and growing deeper in community and with God.
Through the ups and downs, All 4 churches and congregations would survive the years and proudly continue the yearly tradition of meeting together in a now slightly less grandiose manner, but one that has now reached 101 and counting.
But are these churches really surviving, or are they slowly dyeing out of existence in a county where 85% of the population doesn’t attend church on a regular basis. Each of these churches have seen better days, In their hay-days there were over 200 congregants in one church. Now at least two of these churches are lucky to get over 30 on any given morning. One particular church is made of a majority of the older generation that seems unwilling to change and adapt to meet the needs of the community around them.
100 years ago the community had its own school, post office, store and other aspects of a town. Now many of the families have left and the community has been diminished down to a four-way stop, some houses and the churches.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that these churches need to be shut down or joined into one “church,” I love the small church and the family feel that it has. I am trying to say that the church needs to change to better serve the community it serves. The worst thing that a small church does is circle up the band wagons and become uninviting to those who want to come into the church.
Jesus broke bread with those who the rest of the community of his day rejected. He changed the “traditional” way of thinking to meet the needs of those who were in the community around him. Matthew 28:19 tells us to GO. Not to stay put. Not to get comfortable, but GO.
How can a church GO if the members are unwilling to do anything?