I got my latest edition of the "Hoosier United Methodists Together" newspaper on Friday. I usually skim it to see if there is anything positive happening in our conference.
My eye stopped on the article called: "Indy Church Focuses on Global Warming as Vision to Make Difference." Now, I have nothing against helping save the environment. That's all good. But it angered me to realize our conference is raising this church up as a great example, a church to follow.
Let me explain. According to the article (written by the pastor), a United Methodist church in Indianapolis has declared their goal for 2007 to "Fight Global Warming." To lead the way, the pastor sold his SUV and bought a small hybrid car. Their focus in January is to have every family calculate their carbon footprint. In February, they want everyone to swap out their incandescent light bulbs for flourescent ones. In March, they are all going to contact their politicians.
This is a church that had 143 members 10 years ago. Now they have 110 members. Ten years ago they had 90 people attending. In the most recent report they have 77 coming.
I have a thought. How about if they make a goal to introduce someone to Christ this month? What if they educate their people on sharing their faith so they can reverse their decline? What if they set a goal of seeing marriages restored? How about helping their people become followers of Christ in a way that would impact their community? Maybe the objective for 2007 could be "Make Disciples."
Again, I have nothing against fighting global warming. Or saving whales. Or rescuing lonely butterflies. But let's keep first things first and keep the mission of the church crystal clear. There are scores of organizations that can do those things. But the church is the one institution that carries the message of the gospel and is the hope of the world.
Am I off base in my anger?