Every 500 years, the church throws a rummage sale.
That’s how Episcopal Bishop Mark Dyer puts it.
Since the birth of the church, there have been at least three significant turning points in which the church, faced with an identity crisis, made significant shifts in its way of existing in the world.
These shifts resulted in deliberately relinquishing old and familiar ways of doing and being the church in order to engage the church’s mission in ever-changing contexts.
Out with the old. In with the new.
The first of these rummage sales occurred around 500 A.D., as the church became the official religion of the Empire. The second around 1000 A.D., in what is known as the Great Schism between the east and the west. The third began around 1500 A.D., with the protestant reformation.
With each of these turning points, the church found herself in contexts so radically different and new that everything would have to be reimagined. And now a little more than 500 years since our last rummage sale, the church finds herself once again entangled in a crisis of identity and mission. Once again she must decide what parts to keep and what to let go.
In our rapidly changing “post-Christian” era, the church is no longer the social/cultural/political center it once was. That much is clear.
So what does it all mean for the future of the Lord’s church?
What will be her mission in the coming age?
Amid the cluttered garage of stickered relics from the past,
what must go, and what must stay?
And what will be the cost of it all?
These are the questions driving a new sermon series beginning in November entitled, “Semper Reformanda: A sermon series on Christ’s ever-changing church.”
For 3 weeks we will imagine what necessary and redemptive shifts must take place in the Lord’s church in order to steward (in timely ways), the timeless message of God’s good news for future generations.
As a part of our series, I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Wm. Loyd Allen, who serves as the Sylvan Hills Baptist Church Professor of Church History and Spiritual Formation at Mercer’s McAfee School of Theology.
Dr. Allen will be with us on November 5th to help launch our series with a dramatic monologue of Martin Luther. This sermon will be a portrayal (in character) of the great reformer, teaching and reflecting upon the major theological issues that gave rise to the seismic ecclesial shift we have come to know as the reformation.
In the weeks that follow, I will share a series of messages I believe God has placed upon my heart regarding the future of Christ’s church, and her mission in the world.
I hope you’ll join me for…
“Semper Reformanda: A sermon series on Christ’s ever-changing church.”
Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do.
Johns Creek Baptist Church