Folks ask me all time what our church is all about, what goes on there, what do you believe and a thousand other questions. Am I the only pastor in town who is fielding these kinds of questions; I think not!
People today are asking questions like these for a myriad of reasons. One of which is, "Why don't you (meaning my church) and other churches in town do things the way I remember when I was a little child. So much has changed in church today I don't recognize it from my childhood or even five years ago."
Well, my friend, I'm glad you asked that question. Please give me a moment of your time to answer it.
Rev. Dan Andrus
Churches are changing today because people are changing. That sounds awful trite but it's the truth! We no longer take for granted the things we use to take stock in. We no longer gather around our tables as a family and eat dinner together. We no longer get our news from just the newspaper and/or TV. We no longer drive gas guzzling cars that get 8 to 10 miles to the gallon. Well, most of us don't.
Take a moment and look at the world around you. This city is not the same since the Flood of 2011; not the same as it was in 2000; not the same as it was in 1990.
Our city is to double in size in the next five years; what will that bring? Other than the normal stuff of more business, more headaches with traffic, possibly more crime, it will bring change. Change in our culture; in our way of thinking; and yes even the way we look at church. The days of opening the doors of the church and people coming and filling the place have long since gone away.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
Some of us pastors have been known to say "Take your Bibles, Smart phones, Ipads, notebooks or what ever and turn to today's passage in the book of.. The whole dynamics of "doing" church has changed. The essence of "being" a church is still the challenge.
Techniques and methodology may change and it does and it will BUT the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not, does not, change. It is the same story of God sending his son Jesus to die for a lost, sinful world. Jesus died, was buried and rose again the third day. That is the Gospel according to Paul in I Corinthians 15.
The church of today does not look like the church of your grandfather or your father. I am challenging our folks to engage the culture around us, to be as a missionary and learn all over again how to relate to the people of the here and now. Jesus did and I personally think that is an awesome example of how it to be done.
I have found in conversations with people of this great city of Minot that they do not want a religion. They are searching for an intimate relationship with an almighty God which comes through his son Jesus Christ. Won't you join me in this missionary journey of telling the Good News in a different way through a different medium or venue?
For those who might be thinking; he's really pushing it! What's wrong with the way we've always done it? Nothing except you've always done it! You are comfortable, you enjoy it, you grew up with it, and you think it is the way it should be. That may be; but have you tried to talk to someone from a different part of the country. We speak the same language but have no clue as to what each other are saying.
When I first arrived in this region (northwest Minnesota) back in 1997 I had a difficult time with "bars." No not the drinking establishments, the food items. To me "bars" were things we visited to have a drink, things we stayed behind when we had too many drinks, things we put over our windows to protect our homes. It never dawned on me that "bars" were brownies, small cakes and the like. The point I'm trying to convey is that today's people need the same soul-saving Gospel but need it presented in a way and in a language that they understand. We're the missionary in a foreign land and it just might be our neighborhood.
God promises us that his Word will not return empty, but will accomplish what he desires Isaiah 55:11. Let us present his Word in a way that reaches the people we come in contact with on a daily basis.
Jesus spoke "fisherman" to the fishermen and "theologianeze" to the theologians. Again let us take Jesus' example and begin to share the Gospel to everyone as we are going. Matthew 28:19.
The Rev. Dan Andrus is pastor of North Hill Baptist Church in Minot.