The key to structural and financial survival is determined upon how much pain you are willing to endure to reach your goal? Another way of stating this is confronting the brutal facts of that are before us. I agree in part with what Travis is saying about planting churches, but what really needs to happen is a complete overhaul of our thinking, that unfortunately will probably take a generation to accomplish.
We must focus on decentralizing the organization in order to streamline the resources that are present. The major focal point that most agree on is that “Cleveland” is too big. That is not necessarily the case. Cleveland in too inefficient, and there is a difference. The business of the Church of God is winning the lost, period. Any other mandate should be warily accepted without this “missional” mindset. EVERY program, and I mean EVERY, program must be reevaluated with one question in mind: How much does it cost us to reach 1 person for Christ? When our administration budget exceeds our missional budget then our priorities are misaligned, and will be shut down by God.
I firmly believe that God will not bless any denomination, which at its heart evangelism does not exist. Someone might say, “We have the baptism in the Spirit.” In response, for what purpose have you been empowered? Acts 1:8 makes it clear that Spirit empowerment is ONLY for reaching the lost, not for PERSONAL blessings.
When we attend services and what is the common definition of good service? It is usually, God’s Spirit moved, and people were blessed, but hardly anyone says “Hundreds came to Christ.” We must recapture the heart that grieves for the lost.
It is clear that Jesus has made the church responsible to take the message of the gospel to the world. So then the spiritual climate of the world is directly impacted by how well we are fulfilling that mandate. When I see statistics that people 32 years and younger have a conversion rate of 4%, frankly it means we are FAILING, and our priorities must change. Unfortunately, most begin to turn inward and get defensive to try to HOLD on to a dying program.
We must reengage the culture, with the power of the Spirit of God. We must retake territory that we squandered while we focused on our own future rather than the Kingdom of God.
I was there at the last Assembly when the Holy Spirit spoke during the business session, and warned us to turn around or face demise. To me this is our choice, Follow the voice of the Spirit, or continue down paths that will lead us to our own destruction.