A few of us have been thinking about how the scenario of the Zombie Apocalypse speaks to the future of the Church in America. This might seem a morbid analogy, but it is not based off of a sci-fi geekery (well...maybe a little).
In the catalog of books and movies of the zombie family, one of the biggest threats is "being overrun", when the masses of undead overwhelm the living. A critical mass no longer exists, and the possibilities of demise are soon. There is only a matter of time until nothing is left.
For those that serve and attend thriving churches, this might seem odd. Christian life and worship is thriving! But a drive through the interior city or a rural location will show plenty of churches that are for sale, have bare minimum of attendance or are just simply vacant. The numbers tell us that Christianity is in decline.
This is not a situation of popularity or participation, but of existence!
What this means is that we need creative leadership strategies. A frequent response in several zombie tales is the armored schoolbus. This creative solution finds the answers to several problems (transportation, protection, etc..) in a single innovation. Survivors abandon what might have previously worked, and understood that they needed to transform to fit the situation. We need to learn to identify what no longer works in our ministry and leadership and fix it.
Adaptability will be the king.
What would be the wrong answer is for us (the church) to simply hole up and wait for our time to end. Instead, we need to start finding these places of transformation. In the last 50 years, the conservative American church has followed the lead of the Liberal Protestant Paul Tillich, allowing culture to inform the Gospel message, and this has contributed to our decline. This mindset brings the devil of conformity into every conversation. Our methods might change...but our message does not. As a United Methodist, the wesleyan distinctives of Repentance, Faith and Holiness serve as a ruler as does the Gospel that has been proclaimed for 2000 years. Christ is always the same, yesterday, today and forever. Our homebase is the word and message of God made manifest in the Son, Jesus Christ. We have the Holy Spirit as the person of God among us and empowering us in these tumultuous times.
3 Reasons the Church Should Understand the Zombie Apocalypse-Chad Brooks
In the Zombie Apocalypse You Defend Diminished Territory-Rev. Aaron Mansfield
Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be, world without end.