It may be halftime in America, but what quarter is it for the Church?  Like many of you, I watched the Super Bowl.  Like many of you, I watched the Clint Eastwood “Halftime in America” commercial.  I didn’t see it live…I must have gone in the kitchen for my second helping of Rotel dip.  When I did see it, I also thought it was an inspirational commercial spot.  It’s inspiration can be measured by the clamoring on Facebook for people to announce his candidacy for president at the end.  Of course that could be more of an indictment of our current choices rather than an endorsement of Eastwood, but I digress.    

It may be halftime in America, but what quarter is it for the Church?  There is no doubt that the country has had a rough 4 years.  I imagine that when I am talking with my kids when they are in high school, I will talk about the Great Recession.  I am sure that I will talk with them on how tough it was for many of our countrymen and friends, and how we were relatively lucky over that period of time.  What is for certain is that despite whatever luck or perseverance, the past four years have not been without struggle. 

It may be halftime in America, but what quarter is it for the Church?  I think there is a stirring for people who are closer to my age bracket.  I think there is a stirring for authenticity.  I think the past four years has given rise to an opportunity to refocus our priorities on what is important, thanks in large part to the economic downturn.  Because of that stirring and desire for revival, I think this is still the perfect time for the Church to refocus it’s energies to what is important, and serve the people around and in our churches and shift away from buildings, programs, and entertainment value.  

It may be halftime in America, but what quarter is it for the Church?  We have taken “in the world, but not of the world” to an extreme where our churches have turned into some combination of country club and fallout shelter.  I think the parallel for halftime in America and halftime in the church is a fitting comparison, because it seems like the leaders in the church are in the locker room discussing what is going wrong and who is to blame.  The locker room is divided, and a locker room divided cannot stand.  We each have a role to play.  We each can see only a portion of the picture that God is painting, and like Paul, we are peering through the mist and won’t see everything until we see God face to face (Reference: 1 Corinthians 13:12-13)

It may be halftime in America, but what quarter is it for the Church?  Halftime is important for a team as it is for the church.  Halftime is where adjustments are made, where treatment is done, and where the coaches take a critical look at the game plan.  I think it is time for us to take a critical look at our game-plan, and ask “is it working?”  As evidenced by the stagnation in growth in most churches in any measure and by the fact that roughly 2 out of 3 high school students who were active within the church as a youth do not carry that activity into adulthood, it may be time to reevaluate the game-plan.  

It may be halftime in America, but what quarter is it for the Church?  “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch, we get right back up again and when we do the world’s going to hear the roar of our engines.”  Likewise, the Church cannot be taken out with one punch, because the fight has already been fought and won.  It may be halftime, but the second half is starting, and when it does, it’s time for the world to hear about a grace  without prerequisite, forgiveness without end, and love that surpasses understanding.  That roar from the church has proven time and again that it can change the world.  


About larsenphillip

I'm an imperfect disciple of Jesus Christ. I am learning that my walk with Jesus gets deeper when I drop the presumptions that I have and simply follow him. I get frustrated when people put God in a box, and presume to know how He will reach individuals, work in peoples lives, and advance His kingdom. If Tony Campolo or Jim Wallis were to call me and ask me to work for them for free...I probably would. I think one day I'll write a book, and I am a nut for STL Cardinal baseball.
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One Response to Halftime

  1. Interesting read. Given the last 4+ years of my life and working for churches, it seems more like we’re in the early minutes of the 4th quarter. Frankly, I’m ready for us to lose the game and get ready for the next match. I think the Church has lost most of it’s credibility, we no longer have a blank check anymore.

    The scandals (though not necessarily in “our” denomination possibly) have taken their toll. Bad leaders doing irreperable damage and going unchecked have taken their toll. The creation of christian subculture and christian’s withdrawal from society in the name of “our safety” have ruined us.

    And so the church has tried to reinvent itself. To make itself “relevant.” And really, being relevant just means that you liked someone else’s idea, and decided to use it yourself. We have lost our creativity, our desire, and our humility. I had a conversation with a guy tonight who used to be a christian, and keeps trying to come back to it, only to walk away again. And hearing his story, something in my heart says I want to let this whole thing crash and burn. Maybe we need to start the Church over. What we’re doing hasn’t worked, and we need to dream what the next chapter looks like, and create it. Sometimes you have to admit you’re not going to win the game, let it go, take the loss, and move on to the next game. Sort of like a best of 7 series, and we need to write off game 4 and move on to game 5.

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