Dear brother and sisters, store
I want to share with you in this newsletter some of what went on at a meeting of Missions of the Diocese of Quincy held at St. Michael and All Angels Church, advice Peoria IL on Saturday, seek April 23, 2016. I called this meeting of lay leaders of our Missions so we could talk and brainstorm about our Missions’ role in building the Kingdom of God. We had a really great turnout and a very productive discussion.
I began the meeting by sharing some thoughts about the top 5 reasons for church decline in our country:
- Mission Drift—Churches and ministries get off mission. They start out pursuing the great commission, but then drift off course and stop disciplining people TO Christ and IN Christ.
- A Lack of Vision Clarity—Many churches are adrift on an ocean of ministry with no destination in sight. They don’t really know who they are, where they are headed, or what they want to be when they grow up.
- Churches become internally focused—Church members of declining churches feel and think that church is all about them. Thom Rainer said 95% of the programs in our churches are designed to serve the membership.
- An Unwillingness to Change—We have exchanged the urgency for souls to come to Christ for something else that is to our liking. We keep on doing things that don’t bear fruit because we’ve always done it this way. Churches in decline would rather die doing something familiar than trying something new.
- Out of Alignment—Simply put, the church is out of alignment. Alignment with God and His Word.
After these opening remarks, I asked if some of these problems hit close to home? I said if they do, I have good news. These ailments need not be permanent. They can be cured. There are steps that can be taken to correct them. We then had a lively discussion with input from everyone in attendance. One answer came through loud and clear. When asked what you would be willing to do to build the kingdom in our diocese, everyone unanimously said,“Whatever it takes!”
In the afternoon, Father Jim Fosdick, Canon for Congregational Development offered some words of encouragement. After listening to everyone’s input, he stated that he believed the people assembled were a great group of Christians with which to be doing Christ’s mission. He said the church is the people, not the buildings.
Father Jim went on to say his church, St. Mary of the Snows in Eagle River Wisconsin, is committed to three things:
1. Evangelism—taking the gospel out into the community to bring people to follow Jesus.
2. Discipleship—Helping people to grow in spiritual maturity, from milk to meat as Paul says.
3. Caring for the people Jesus especially cares for, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the prisoners and the sick. All those Jesus mentions in Matthew 25:31ff.
As your bishop, I am very excited about where this meeting is leading us. Working together, all of the people in the room have what it takes to revitalize the church and they’re committed to doing so… Whatever it takes! This effort will continue when I meet with the lay leaders of our parishes at St. Michael’s on June 11. What a joy to work with the wonderful people of our diocese as we join Jesus in building His Kingdom. Alleluia!
Bp J. Alberto Morales, OSB