Are Christians Responsible for Proclaiming the Church is Dead?

My friend sat across the table shaking his head and asked, “Do you think the church is irrelevant? I mean, is it dead?”

In the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, half of his friends had begun proclaiming the church failed because Christians voted for one candidate or the other. Many who supported Hillary Clinton had begun posting articles and statements decrying the Church’s role. His concern was related to how many of these were pastors and seminary professors. A colleague here at Campbell described his own feed, “I can scroll through the last 6 months of some of my friends feeds and get the impression they hate the church.”

My answer today is the same as it would be regardless of who won this election or any other, the church is only as irrelevant as we tell the world it is. In our communities, the church should be a place of reconciliation, conversation, and a unified vision of serving the Kingdom which is here now, but still yet to come.

At CYTI and at Campbell, we think the church is as relevant as it has ever been.

  • Is it changing? Yes.
  • Are new ways of being church emerging? Yes.
  • Do we need to expand how we understand what living as the presence of Christ in our world means? Yes.
  • Is the good news of the Gospel as relevant today as it has ever been? Yes.

For those reasons, we are committed to walking this journey of faith formation, discipleship and calling with high school students. We love the church, even with its flaws, shortcomings and messiness. We believe that God has called us to be active participants in God’s redemptive work in the world.

So dear friend, no, I do not believe the church is irrelevant, and I certainly do not believe it is dead, because I see evidence every day of God working through it in the presence of a hospital visitor sitting and praying with a family in NIC-U. I see it in the pastor who stands at a rally exhorting his community to love the least of these. I see it in our students at Campbell who gather to pray in the wake of tragedy. I see it in the celebrations and laughter of congregations and families each week who are sharing this messy journey of life together.