I read this morning that Sears has put out a statement saying that they have “substantial doubt” that its company’s doors will stay open. Other retail giants that have been main stays all my life, anchor stores in mall across the country, have been closing stores in many locations. They’re not doing anything like the business they did just a few decades ago.
I wonder what folks would have said fifty years ago, if someone had suggested that these giants would close? I suspect there would be a chuckle at the idea. Sears was founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1886 for heaven’s sake! It’s been a retail center in cities and towns across America for 130 years. It will always be here would have been the natural assumption.
But then came Amazon.com as well as lots of other .coms. Then came Walmart and Meijer. I looked at my own Amazon account and realized that I made my first purchase from them in 1999 when they were primarily a book company. I had three orders that year. Last year I had 66 orders for everything from Altoids to computer parts, and clothes to vitamins.
There are other factors, I’m sure, that have affected Sears and other companies. But the fact is the world of buying and selling is changing like so many other things in our culture, and some of those institutions that we once thought would always be there, are simply going by the wayside.
And the analogy to the Church is not a hard one to make, is it? The world has changed and it is changing for us too. There are many shifts that we could name. Worship itself is one of them. From the day of the week we offer worship opportunities to the location where we offer them, things are by necessity changing.
By the way there is a BIG worship training event on our District this Saturday with Kim Miller in case you hadn’t heard!!
Click → HERE ← for details!
Giving in the church has changed too. If your congregation doesn’t offer at least automatic withdrawal from a bank account, if not instant giving on a web site; if you are relying only on people writing checks or putting cash in the plate, then you are missing a significant portion of potential givers.
These are just a couple areas where our world is different than it was in the past, and if we don’t pay attention and move with the shifts we may well find ourselves ─ someday soon ─ putting out our own press release indicating our “substantial doubt” related to our ability to keep the doors open. And more importantly to carry out the mission of sharing Christ’s love in a broken and hurting world.