One cold Sunday a few weeks ago, Don and I visited a church. It was right down town and at one time was filled with people.
We arrived an hour early, and found one old gentlemen sitting in the narthex, having turned on all the lights, and the heat, to get ready for when the congregation arrived.
The sanctuary in this church building was beautiful. Stained glass windows, a huge pipe organ. It was well kept, and hundreds of lights outlined the balcony.
The gentlemen told us that at one time the balcony would have been filled, and the church held two services, and over 400 people would be there. Now the balcony was empty, and he expected only 100 people for today’s worship service.
We were told that the pastor would be there soon after he finished preaching at another congregation. He said there were about 12 people at that congregation. Hopefully, I asked if it was a mission church of their congregation. But it wasn’t. It was another church that had died and now had only 12 people left.
The pastor arrived and we were welcomed warmly by him and also when he preached.
The collection was taken by two elderly gentlemen and it was apparent that women were not allowed to serve. The pastor also led the song service, and an elderly retired man played the pipe organ. If that church had been feminized, it was no longer apparent. It wasn’t the women who were killing that church.
The church was fading away, while the building stood strong and proud.
The people seemed perplexed, and could not understand why the younger people would not come to their church services. It was apparent to us. And should have been to them.
The songs were awful and had no life to them. The pastor read his sermon from a sheet of paper, which was also printed on the paper we were given with the bulletin.
The church service had no life. The people had kept getting up every Sunday morning and coming to church. Changing the light bulbs, while holding on to the past.
Just like many of us. Just like those churches that hold women to a Middle Eastern standard of service in the 21st century world. The church is dying, and we are still getting up every morning, and clinging to our belief that women were not created equally in God’s kingdom.
It will not be the women who kill a church.
Lord, create in us a new song that follows closely behind you as you lead the way. Lord, help us sing the song that you are not in the past, but in our present and ready to lead in our future.