the Good News of Jesus crucified and risen when and where it pleases Him. Faith is not created by human enthusiasm, crusades for social justice or strategic planning. Faith comes through the word of the cross. That’s what Lutheran mission is given to proclaim. It is precisely in this Lutheran understanding of mission that mercy and life together converge”. So says President Harrison in “A Theological Statement For Mission in the 21st Century”.
I like that idea of being glued to something. As I get older my mother’s pithy comment that “I would loose my head if it wasn’t attached” gains more and more meaning. Things that are attached are meant to stay. Being glued to something is meant to bond together so as not to separate. The Holy Spirit is the one who adds on to the church believers, where and when he wills. It happens when folks receive the Gospel and so the Gospel must be proclaimed.
We need to be glued to this truth otherwise we might loose our heads when the trials and temptations of life and the cares of the world come upon us and, God forbid the church doesn’t grow, or even worse, shrinks. We need to be glued to this truth that the Holy Spirit adds to the church where and when He wills. If not we will go the way of market strategies and polls. Nothing wrong with market strategies or polls but the church is to give to people what they need, not what they want. We will take the temperature of the “public” which is a vapor and illusion, sometimes here and sometimes there and we will be tossed to and fro with every gadget and fad that comes around. We can trace what happens when churches want to “do something” to end the decline in attendance and it is usually abandoning the truth that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the world of Christ”. We can work on “felt needs” until we come to the mature understanding that we can never enumerate all the felt needs of even a few who are close to us, let alone all those who clamor to have them filled. We can play the psychology card and preach Christ the self esteem lifter and eventually loose Christ the Savior.