To attack laryngitis in your congregation head on, talk with your congregation’s lay and clergy leaders about how to start conversations about faith when you gather for worship. For help with this intentional practice, try the “10 ways to practice faith-sharing.”
• How can sermons become the first word rather than the last?
• How can you shape fellowship time so it becomes a training ground for the faithful to grow, rather than simply a social time to see old friends?
Over the next six months, we’d like to hear your answers and stories. Send them to elizabeth.hunter
@ thelutheran.org. The results will find their way into a future issue of The Lutheran.
More than once I’ve heard it said that the
average Lutheran invites someone to church once every 23 years. My
defensive side wants to respond that at least half of our “members”
hardly come at all and shouldn’t be held against the rest of us. Then I
do the math and we only improve to about one invitation every 10 to 12
years. Since it’s easier to invite someone to church than to tell
someone what trusting Christ means to me, I don’t even want to guess
how infrequently we talk to others about Jesus.
Contrast this with Martin Luther’s dream. He believed “all Christians have the authority, the command, and the obligation to preach …” (Luther’s Works, vol. 30: The Catholic Epistles, edited by J.J. Pelikan, H.C. Oswald & H.T. Lehmann; Concordia Publishing House, 1967).
How is it that a movement founded on the idea that every Christian would be a preacher in the midst of their daily work ended up being so silent?
Along with many others, I’m discovering that renewing the church isn’t likely to happen unless we give attention to renewing the Christian life—reclaiming discipleship as a way of life. Many of us in what people refer to as “mainline” traditions come from centuries-old connections as state churches. We internalized a sense that we were legitimate simply because we existed. We assumed we always would.
As a result we clammed up about Jesus—and developed a serious case of laryngitis. This isn’t a Lutheran problem. It’s much broader than that (most of our full communion partners have laryngitis too).
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers