After Moses died, Joshua stood on the shore of the Jordan River, looking across at the Promised Land. Joshua and the Israelites were at the beginning of a new identity as a nation; all they had to do was cross the river into a scary and foreign land filled with unknown dangers and countless foes. But God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to “be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” So they obeyed God, crossed the river and took possession of the Promised Land.
The mainstream Christian Church in America, including St. Andrews is the like the Israelites – we stand at the edge of a new and scary place. Statistics tell us that the Church today is becoming less relevant in today’s culture. Americans don’t go to church as they did in the past. The Church cannot remain on the side of the river that is safe and familiar. If we do, we’ll just fade away. Instead, I believe God is calling us also to be strong and courageous and cross over into a new and foreign place so that we can remain as Christ’s presence in the world and our nation. The Session of St. Andrews is meeting this challenge by starting a process to look at Adaptive Change – how do we make Church relevant and meaningful in the new culture, and how do we reach the world and our nation for Christ. There will be more to come on this in the future, as we are just beginning.
To listen to Rick’s message given at St Andrew’s on August 27, 2017, click on the title “Strong and Courageous” by Rick Oldenkamp