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Musings & Younger Perspectives
By Megan Ernst Kilpatrick | Montage by Jesse N. Love

The state of the modern church
has been in the news a lot lately,
and the news ain’t pretty.

“Nones” are on the rise, as are the ‘spiritual, but not religious’ folks. Mainstream church is dying—a slow, protracted death that we should have seen coming but didn’t and now it’s upon us and good grief, what are we to do? Our churches are dying, closing, and we’re all in a downward spiral, just circling the drain.

Ugh. Dude, I know. I get it. Enough already.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing the doomsday predictions. Seriously. I start tuning it out once I hear a conversation going that direction. It’s sad, and depressing, and completely hopeless.

Why on earth would I want to be a part of that? It’s like saying “hey, come aboard the ship…it’s sinking, but it’s really not that bad!”

How on earth is that attractive, life-giving, faith-affirming, or hope-giving?

Yeah…it’s not.

I’m tired of hearing that the church is dying. I’m tired of hearing that the state of affairs is awful. But mainly, I’m tired of people talking (complaining) a lot and not taking any action.

There’s a reason I became Methodist. It was a conscious choice, and had nothing to do with my parents or my traditions or the fact that I felt something was ‘missing.’ I became Methodist because my church is where I find God. I find God in community, in service, in outreach, in relationships.

As Methodists, we do great things. We stand with the poor, the oppressed, and the hopeless. We are agents of change in very positive and tangible ways. We ‘walk our talk’ in what we support, how we minister, how we help people. Really. Take stock of all of our ministries, from local church ministries to global church initiatives. We have a lot to be proud of. But you know what else? We do a crappy job of telling other people about it. We aren’t good at tooting our own horn.

I’m tired of hearing the church is dying. Because the church I’m a part of is living its mission every day. We aren’t perfect, but we’re working on moving in that direction. I didn’t become Methodist to jump on a sinking ship; I became Methodist because I wanted to live Christ’s mission in this world, in this time.

I’m tired of the negative stories. I’m tired of the doom and gloom. I want to be a light in the darkness, bring hope to the hopeless, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, live Christ’s mission every day. We are more than a sinking ship. We are awash in opportunity, in possibilities, in ‘what if’s?”.

I get that mainstream churches are dying….but we are alive in Christ. We are the agents of change for a better future – each one of us. How have we, individually, lived out Christ’s mission? How have we made the world a better place by our words and deeds? This is our calling…every single one of us!

I don’t want to be a part of sinking ship. I want to be on a ship that is going great places, doing great things, and empowering each and every person do to amazing things in the name of Jesus Christ. We do amazing work every day. We have a lot of opportunities to grow, but we have much to celebrate. The work is plenty but the laborers are few. So, let’s get to work. Let’s turn the gloom and doom into a beacon of hope and opportunity. Let’s go sail this ship to great places.

Channels 67

Des Moines UMC feeds in Body, Mind and Spirit • #givingtuesdsay • WJC Stepping Out Event • Make It Happen at Assembly 2014 • Clarkston UMC and Highland Elementary School Pumpkin Patch • Dr. Monica Coleman speaks at The Well • Rethinking Our Camps in the Midst of Change • Listen, Listen, Love, Love: Working with At-Risk Youth • On the Shelf: Advent Resources • Journeys: Certified Lay Minister Training • Musings: The State of the Modern Church • Bishop: Testing our Assumptions • To subscribe to Channels, e-mail

Megan Ernst Kilpatrick is a member of Puyallup UMC (Puyallup, Wash.).
This article will be featured in Channels 67, November 2013 – COMING SOON.


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