02 June, 2011

Dying to Live

Dying to Live

In recent days and weeks I have had opportunity to talk with several different individuals who attend Harvest Church, and I have heard over and over the same questions and sentiments... "What is wrong with Harvest Church?"  "Why are people so unfaithful?"  "Why is that we cannot consistently draw a larger crowd and grow?"   And so they go... each one, while using different words, expressing the same feelings and concerns... This church has one foot in the grave and the other is slipping in the mud. As one of my members expressed just yesterday, "Something has to give, or we are dead!"  I have spent a lot of time in thought and prayer about this over the last few weeks, and I have the answer.... "It is time for Harvest Church to die."

Yes... you read that right. It is time for Harvest Church to die.  

Now hold on, don't walk out on me now... give ear to me for a few minutes and then you can determine if I have lost my mind or not.

When I say, "it is time for Harvest Church to die, I mean it.... but I'm not talking about closing our doors. I'm talking about the church as we know it must die... or it will close its doors and become yet another statistic. What I am talking about is a radical, abrupt change. I'm talking about all our old ideas, methods, leadership and history must die, be buried and left in the grave from here on out. No more, "this is how we used to do it."  No more, "this worked before."  No more, "I remember when."  It's got to die. Dead things, if dug up again stink and corrupt that which is living. You've all said it to me, and those who have not said it, have at least thought it... "it's dying."

I propose we allow it to die. I believe that until we do, we will continue to be haunted by the past and that which is dead and dying will contaminate and kill new life.  I propose a new start... a new beginning, in which we let go of the past, and begin fresh and new.
I believe that if we don't die to the past... we will literally die. We must die to live.

I'll be totally honest... over the last couple of weeks, I have become angered at the lack of commitment in folks, in the lack of real concern for lost souls and for our community. I said it in a post on Facebook, "Actions speak louder than words."  Don't tell me how much you care... while you lay at home week after week and come to church when you feel like it. Don't tell me you care for the lost when you have not brought a lost soul to church in months or even years.  Actions speak louder than words. I became so frustrated that I was questioning if I had made a mistake in not taking one of the churches that had been offered to me recently.  I'm just being honest. But then one day last week, I was walking the streets of the town and praying and I thought, " I don't want to leave here... I love this town."  I thought, I have seven years invested... not only in Harvest Church, but in this community. I'm not willing to leave here because I am frustrated or because some people have become complacent and comfortable in the church where I pastor. 
I'm serving notice on those people right now... it's fixing to get really uncomfortable.
Change is coming, and it is going to be radical.
Harvest Church, as you know it is preparing to die, and new life is coming. If you don't like it, get ready to pack your stuff and move on to another feeding trough, because I've set my anchor, and I'm here for the long haul. It's going to change. We have to change. I have to change. Face it... it's not working like we've been doing it. Some have resisted, and tried bucking the changes... and in kindness, I've allowed some of it. But no more. The old has passed away, and all things are becoming new.

I don't care how we used to do it or how we've always done it. We are dying to the past so that we might live and be effective for the Kingdom.

Starting with this post, I am beginning a new blog called "New Beginnings" which I will be sharing over the coming weeks as we prepare for the death of the old and the new Harvest Church is born. There will be a link to it on this page. After this one, the posts from New Beginnings will not be shared here. I hope you will follow... give me some input... even criticism. But I want to make it clear, I am determined, the old Harvest is soon to die, and there will be a new church explode from that death. Get ready... or get out of the way.

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