Freshly back from Annual Conference, I’ve got a lot going through my mind. Overall, it was a good event; I am appreciative of the changes we’ve made over the past 10 or so years.
One thing really struck me, though, when I heard it at Conference. I’d heard it before, but not in exactly the same way. The statement I heard was something like this:
No matter how hard we pray, we cannot bring back 1955.
While I couldn’t agree more, hearing it this time got me to wondering: why do we go to 1955? Is that the only time in the past church people would like us to go back to?
Merely focusing the question on 1955, I think, disarms us as a group from dealing with the larger point that God’s Kingdom in this world, and therefore the Church, is always moving forward and cannot go back to any year. ANY year.
Very few churches currently have people in leadership who were Church Leaders in 1955. The Church I serve has several active members who were leaders then, but who have graciously and gracefully passed off active leadership to the younger generations. (They appreciate and enjoy being kept in the loop, and those of younger generations seek their wisdom and advice)
I would like to think that Churches that are vibrant and intent on reaching those around them have people in leadership who were not yet born in 1955. These folks, I believe, might rightly scratch their heads at the year 1955. They might be wondering why, it seems, we seem to want to go back to 1985 – a full 30 years later than the magical 1955.
Remember, folks, even 1985 was nearly 30 years ago NOW.
Church, we do well to ‘look back’ to seek the wisdom of the saints who lead the church in the past. We do even better to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, who leads us – forward – into the future that God has for us. If any of us is trying to take the Church back to any date or year, we will soon find we have left off following Jesus.