Scott posed a question for everyone on the podcast to answer (then debate): what’s the one thing the church could or should do to make the biggest impact?
Scott’s opening response: The one thing that the church in America has to work on to be more effective is being more authentic and more transparent in who they really are. America is rejecting the church more than it’s rejecting Jesus Christ.
When we ask Americans if they could worship alone or with their family, is that a valid replacement for regularly attending church, we find that the majority of Americans say, “Yes, we don’t need church.”
When we ask the un‑churched, “Has a Christian ever shared with them the benefits of participating in a local church?” only a third of them say somebody’s done that.
What people are rejecting is this notion that we were all taught to be holy, and the unwritten rule was to act like you are, even when you’re not. That’s what people are rejecting. They’re saying that’s not real, that’s not authentic.
What we’re failing to do is we’re failing to be a church for the hurting, because people don’t know that anybody’s hurting in church. We fail to be a church for the weak, because we always pretend that we’re strong. We’re failing to be a church for the struggling, because people don’t know we struggle too.
Casey’s opening response: Yeah, so let me tell you the correct answer real fast…the correct answer to this question is Bible engagement and literacy, and we’ve talked a lot about on our show already, in previous episodes. We know that even among those who are affirming that the Bible is an authority over them, and that it’s God’s word, they’re still not regularly reading.
We’ve said only 49 percent of those with evangelical beliefs, those who are saying the Bible is the ultimate authority for what I believe, but still only half of those are engaging scripture in a systematic way.
That it’s not something that we’re currently doing well. Then, is it critical to the life and health of the church?
The only offensive weapon in the armor of God is the Word of God. We see Jesus use it to ward off temptation in the desert. We see His words are saturated with scripture, the high value that He places on scripture.
Lizette’s opening response: The one thing I would say the church can do ‑‑ and I’m going to focus on pastors ‑‑ is to simplify and do something. I’m going to give a framework for doing something.
It’s really going to be do anything, do any of these but get something done, and start moving forward.
First of all, step away from the ideas of grandiosity. Instead, think about what it takes to do and be faithful to God, and working out the most basic elements of being the church and being a disciple. It’s witness. It’s prayerful dependence, raising up new leaders, reaching out into the community.
I emphasize this going back to our study on transformational churches. When we were looking at where transformation was happening. The thing that always has stuck out to me is these churches that we ‑‑ based on several pieces of criteria ‑‑ put in the top 10 percent, it’s actually a very underwhelming set of criteria. It’s not this superhero kind of routine going on.
So, what are the other 90 percent doing? We’re so off track with focusing on the very basic things that need to be done. My suggestion is just get something done. Learn how to do something very basic. You know what these are. Then learn how to do this and work them out.
Richard Osmer has four tasks that he encourages the pastor to be able to do. It’s like a tool kit, a Swiss Army knife, if you will, that asks four questions. One, what is going on? Two, why is this going on? Three, what ought to be going on? And four, how might we respond?