I recently read an article titled, “The Rise of the Dones” that was forwarded to me by a fellow pastor. The article (and comments that followed) expanded on the idea that there is an exodus from the institutional church. In the words of Josh Packard (author and researcher):
“The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.”
The article wasn’t terribly descriptive of any more than that, unfortunately. But the more I’ve thought about this, the more I remember what we set out to do in the first place: to create a movement of people who gathered on Sunday precisely because we were out there, playing, participating, and cooperating with Jesus! In short, the hope was that everything we do as a church would bring LIFE, not fatigue. That doesn’t mean ease or comfort. It means life: transformation; hope; healing; and the sense of being well-spent as we give our lives away for the sake of others.
I want everything we do at Restoration to be a source of this kind of LIFE for people.
At our leadership night last weekend, we brainstormed all the thing we’re excited about in the life of our church right now. We talked about how Sundays are growing (we need more chairs!). We talked about raking leaves and the feedback we got from people – eyes wet with tears as they explained how this came at just the right time. We listed baptism Sunday and the 15 people who stepped into the water. We discussed the nearly 200 kids who hear the Gospel at Young Life each week. We listed Roanoke College and the students who are finding life and a home at Restoration because families are investing in them. And we talked about mission – all of us stepping into this incarnate life we’ve been talking about. It’s fun to see how God is bringing life instead of Sunday fatigue, precisely because we’re invited to play and participate!
But what was even more exciting was the second discussion: we began to dream together about what God might want to do in and through us in the next year or so. If all these other things have happened in our last year, imagine what God might be up to next!
And I guess that’s what I want us all to do. Imagine. Dream. Expect. What do you hope might happen at Restoration as we move ahead into 2015? Where is God calling you to play and participate? We’re invited to be part of a great story and an incredible mission. YOU are invited to be part of a great story and an incredible mission. That’s what we believe “church” is about.
So what are your dreams for Restoration Church? The list is just getting started…