A Church of No Influence -
Posted on May 9, 2012 - 12:03pm in Pastor Andy's Blog
I came across this article on the BBC Website recently. It is a true and devastating story.
“A 200-year-old church building has disappeared from a village in central Russia, officials from the Russian Orthodox Church say. The building had stood near the village of Komarovo since 1809. It was intact in July but sometime in early October thieves made off with it brick by brick, they said. Local prosecutors had been informed and an investigation was under way, a spokesman for the local Russian Orthodox Church said. The disappearance of the Church of the Resurrection, some 300 km (186 miles) north-east of Moscow, was not immediately noticed”.
The statement has been offered, not sure by whom, that the test of a church's influence is whether or not anyone in the vicinity of a Church would realize it was missing if it disappeared. In this Russia community, I guess people didn’t.
As someone who cares deeply for the Church that Jesus has called and commissioned, it is very easy to see how this kind of thing would happen… and it is the Church's fault. A series of seemingly ‘right’ decisions were made over time that created something so wrong to happen. At some time, someone decided that the way things had been were worth more than the way they could be, someone had chosen comfort over mission, preference over purpose and started caring more about those on the inside, than the outside. This church had lost its spiritual influence in the community long before it lost its physical one …and brick by brick this beacon of light was extinguished.
What a tragedy. The Church that Jesus gave Himself to should be the most vibrant, creative, life giving, transforming force on the face of the planet. We steward the message of Jesus, so dynamic, so radical, so defining… and the eternity of many hangs in the balance if the Church loses its influence among those whom we are called to serve.