The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


To go where we've never gone before

Pruning and death in congregations can bring life

At one time or another in our lives we all face situations beyond our control. Our responses range from meeting such challenges head-on to total avoidance.

Congregations are no different. Today many churches across the country face decline—even death. How do we deal with this challenge? Where does the ELCA find hope for the future?

Illustration by Lynne FosterStar Trek’s James T. Kirk was my hero when I was a boy. His passion for exploration and the uniting of all inhabited planets throughout the galaxy touched me deeply. Although the TV series died, it later returned as feature motion pictures.

The second film’s primary theme had to do with life and death. Early in the film, Starfleet Academy cadets are thrust into a simulation known as the “Kobayashi Maru.” Each cadet is alerted that a crippled vessel, the Kobayashi Maru, is floating flaccidly in nearby unsafe territory. If the cadets proceed, they’ll soon encounter their enemy, the Klingons, and must choose options by which to outmaneuver them.

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