Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A World Without Borders

My son will grow up in a world without borders.  It's true.  There will be no borders.  Many people, maybe not many, have discussed this topic for a few years.  Recently, it has become more of a relevant topic.  This past week the word came out that there will be no more borders in the whole wide world.  Who announced this?  It was announced in the Wall Street Journal.  Why would they announce it?  Because the Borders I speak of are not borders around countries, or fences between neighbors, it's the Borders book store.  They closed a bunch of stores, tried to keep a few open, but alas, they are all closing.

We shop, well shopped, at Borders.  It was a great store.  It was the only retail bookstore chain in Lee's Summit.  We purchased lots of books there (we like to read).  We also purchased many Christmas gifts there, as they always have the coolest stuff for kids.  We don't have a kindle, except on a laptop.  We do have an I-pad, of which we have downloaded a few books.  I hear that the reason they are closing is competition from Amazon, ebooks, etc.  Maybe that's true.  Barnes and Noble are still making it though, or are they?

My son will never enter a Borders bookstore.  Borders has been around since 1970.  And now they will all be gone soon.  I started thinking about many of the things I grew up with that have since closed.  Remember Polaroid Cameras?  They closed in 2002 after 60 yrs in business.  Arthur Anderson, a huge consulting and accounting firm opened in 1913, then closed in 2002.   How about Tower Records?  They had a 60 year run. Now closed forever.  And you might not believe this one, but Olan Mills closed in 2008 after a 70 year run.  Yes, the people who did church directories no longer are trading stock.
Anyone remember TG&Y?  Opened in 1935, closed in 2001.  My sister worked there.  GM almost closed, if it weren't for the Federal Government.  Lots of other companies closed during the latest recession 2007-2011.

Lots of things change.  Lots of things end.  What will my son see go by the wayside in his lifetime?
The United Methodist Church has been declining at a rate of 500,000 members every 10 years.  We were founded in 1968, and with the average age of an organization being 60-70 years, will we come to an end around 2030?  What would a world look like without the United Methodist Church?  What would my son's life look like without the United Methodist Church?

We are a church that has a dual focus- making disciples for Jesus Christ and social justice/missions.  Known to us as personal piety and social holiness.  There is lots of talk about measures of vitality and fruitfulness by tracking worship attendance, professions of faith, baptisms and people serving in mission.  Those are great indicators, but just tracking stuff will not turn the ship.  I don't have all the answers, but I do know one thing.
If the church (every church and pastor) doesn't begin to take seriously the call of Christ to love their neighbors, there will be no United Methodist Church for my son when he graduates from college in 22 years.

As for Grace, we continue to grow and reach out.  Our attendance, professions of faith, baptisms and people deployed in mission are all going up and we are doing very well.  Keep it up Grace.

And although I am sad that Borders is closing because I enjoyed going there, but something else will come in and I will find somewhere else to buy books.  Let's make sure there is a United Methodist Church that is making disciples and serving those in need for the next 100 years!  Not because we enjoy going there, but because lives are being eternally changed!
Go in peace and go with God.