This past weekend was the fifth anniversary of The Gathering Nashville. It’s hard to believe that five years have already gone by. Without overstating the fact, they’ve certainly been five of the greatest years of my life in ministry. Not only has my family flourished, but my faith and my passion to be a pastor has been reborn.
When I committed my life to be a pastor almost 40 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing, really. But it’s been a great adventure, incredibly rewarding, and I truly believe that my best days are ahead. Why? Because of what I’ve experienced over the last five years.
It’s hard to believe, since we’ve been in Nashville since 1989 (over 20 years), 16 years of that time has been spent in rented facilities. I’ve learned something. That is that the church doesn’t need buildings, brick and mortar, and a lot of creature comforts in order to be real, dynamic, and growing. In fact, buildings can be a downright liability.
Just take a listen to my talk this weekend about the one fundamental fact that I think changes everything for the American church. That is, we have to retain the belief that what we do matters, that we are indeed out to change the world. We’re not maintaining some religious civility. We’re introducing into the culture the only hope that we’ll ever have. And that’s Jesus. We talked about what’s gone wrong with the American church, where we are as a growing church here in Nashville. And we also talked about our three U’s: our urgency, our uniqueness, and our unity.
Let me know what you think. Do you believe that the future of the American church is bleak in light of the fact that 42 million Christians have left the church, or bright, in that so many new churches are beginning?