Stained Glass and Relevance

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This is not another post on the topic Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church. I may join that conversation at some point, but not today.

Instead, I want to talk about three good friends of mine; all friends for a long time. All men in their fifties. They are serious followers – not just Believers but Followers of Christ. Daily study of Scripture, raising godly families, really living the Christ life. Very concerned about their impact in this world. Compassionate, generous. All very engaged in local churches since childhood.

All have stopped attending church.

When I read the millennials discussions, I often see folks looking for a rationale not to be in church, but that is not the case with these men. They care deeply about the church and have invested much of their lives in it.

But they will not be there this Sunday.

I have spent a lot of time talking with them over the past few years, and for each of them, the “why” comes down to the same answer:

They find the church largely irrelevant to what God is doing in their lives and in the world.


How does the community of Christ become irrelevant in his world?

First, a story to start you thinking, and then we will continue this conversation next week. There are several versions floating around. It is apocryphal, almost certainly not true, but a good story nonetheless, and it does make its point.

In the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent IV is in the papal coffers surveying the vast collection of coinage in the church’s treasury. St. Thomas Aquinas, out for an afternoon stroll, stops by for a visit. Standing amidst all the wealth, Innocent calls out, “Ahh, Thomas, no longer can we say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.'” Thomas replies, “But neither can we say, ‘In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk.'” 

Irrelevant . . .

More to come next week.

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