Summary: Change in the church

Rebuilding the structure, Pardon our Dust series Ezra 1:1-5

Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ

July 28, 2002

A couple of months ago I gave a sermon which outlined a lot of the things that we are doing right as a church. And because I like to keep things positive I failed to mention what our problem is as a church.

We have an average Sunday attendance of 75 on Sunday morning which believe it or not is actually up a little from last year. But Sunday attendance is not where we measure success. Our Bible school hour needs work. We have a high number of once a month attenders who have been coming for years and never moved up to faithful regular attendance. Or perhaps they have backed away from it. Last year when we had our annual meeting we had just over 30 people show up. Which some of you may think is good attendance, but with a Church who currently sees more than 150 different member in one month you can obviously see that we need more people to care about the direction and focus of the church. And we have other problems as well. But all of that being said, those things are not our big problem. Those things are just symptoms of a larger problem.

There are 2 underlying problems that we are facing as a church

Max best expressed our first problem last year in our annual meeting when he said that our younger members need to start taking on more responsibility. Because if they do not we will slowly dwindle until it’s time to close the doors. The way Max stated it was this ”We are one generation away from extinction”

We have to get more people involved in leadership and service in the life of the church. So the question has been asked “How do we get people involved in what’s going on? Can we just do what we have always done and expect them to show up and say I want be a team leader. No we need to be realistic. Can we hire a youth minister and have that fix the problem. Again the answer is no, While hiring a youth minister is the right move unless we find a way to connect we will only be putting a band aid over a gaping wound.

I have received some phone calls and letters this last week from people expressing your concerns about some changes we are making here.

Let me say this I understand the concerns some of you are facing. Our Leaders understand the concerns that you might have. And we know that some of these changes are hard to deal with. Some of you have seen technology and business change so rapidly and constantly that when you come to church you just want everything to be calm.

But as earlier stated “we are one generation away from dying”

A few years ago there was a company in Alma called “Lobdell Emery “ They had a plant in Alma and they manufactures metal products. Such as shelving units for grocery stores and the doors to a lot of Gm cars.

A few years ago the leadership found that the company was losing money at an incredible rate so in an effort to turn a profit the owners sold the company and ultimately the plant was shut down.

This affected my family because at that time my father was an executive of the data processing area. The Company that purchased the plant saw my dad’s value but wanted him to relocate to Detroit. He ended up taking another Job with a major pay cut just to stay in the area but he did tell me that, the company has been losing money for years and someone finally said enough. We either have to innovate or we will die.

I wonder what life was like when the automobile was becoming popular? Suddenly people were buying less horseshoes, no one needed a horse anymore so saddle companies were losing money, feed companies couldn’t sell their product.

Throughout history there have been some great companies, When the railroads were started in this country they were controversial but they were also powerhouses. And they threatened other companies who could not get cargo to it’s destination in nearly the same amount of time that they could.

But what did we see about a month ago? Amtrak can’t keep up with airlines, busses or cars so they announced a plan to suspend passenger trains, Now the government stepped in to help with a substantial loan but if they had not Amtrak would be seriously downsizing right now.

My father in Law works for a place in Ohio called Owens Brockway, They make glass, Specifically glass containers. He’s one of those guys who believes in what he does if you go into his garage he has hundreds of glass products. Old coke bottles. Ketchup bottles, pickle Jars, On his refrigerator is a sticker that says “only the best comes in glass” He used to ask his wife to only buy things out of the glass containers, so if she went to the store she would buy ketchup in the glass bottle, she would buy mustard in the glass jar.

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