I've heard people talking for years about "church growth." But when they do, I'm not always sure what they mean by it. Or, to put a finer point on it, I'm not always sure they know what they mean by it.
Churches with massive overhead invested in things like church buildings, denominational infrastructures, functional church organizational models are awakening to the fact that the generations that are supposed to be taking the institutional baton are showing very little interest.
The Christian faith is in decline in Europe and is pretty much stagnant in the United States. The great churches in Europe are mostly empty, and the number of people respond "None" when asked about a religious commitment in the United States is growing.
There is within this new emergence an affinity for those matters of social and personal justice, compassion, spiritual wholeness and unity within and among all people and faiths. These were the obsessions of Jesus while here on earth.
An emerging church in San Diego, Calif., has once again taken up the mantel of love this week and has become ambassadors to the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, letting them know that they are not alone and that God does love them.
With every crisis comes an opportunity for self-examination, for learning, for change and growth, and it is indeed encouraging to see the Pope urging leaders to fully seize the opportunities presented by present problems.