As the Christian church loses its place of privilege in North America and local congregations grey, the question is asked, “How will we survive?” But, this is the wrong question! Christians need to ask the question, “How will I (and my congregation) die?” This is the point of the following excerpt from the Lutheran Church — Canada’s “Blueprint for Missions in the 21st Century.”
Many members and leaders of our church today show a great fear of the church’s dying. The question in their hearts is, “How will Lutheran Church – Canada survive?” That is a meaningless question because Christ does not expect the church to find its own way to live. Its life is already captured in Christ. The only question remaining is how will she die?”
Here is the challenge for the 21st century: will the church be courageous enough to use every resource that God has given her to ensure that others will live with him forever? Will the church engage the world in such a sacrificial manner that the unbelieving world will look upon its dying and say, ‘This truly is the Bride of the Son of God!’
If the church is about the Father’s business, He will surely not let allow its witness to disappear from the earth. The carpet may be shabby, the organ out of tune, the windows plain, the spire not very high, but the heart of the church will shine with love and mercy. Those who view its sacrifice of love will praise the God of its creation. Those who will come to faith will join with the dying church to offer their voices to those of the angels in praise to God for having made His church such a glorious gift. So may it be!
From Convention Workbook, “A Mission Plan for the Twenty First Century” LCC 6th Convention, Kitchener, June 6-10, 2002, page G-24. Emphasis added.