This past weekend we re-entered the season of daylight savings.  In 1966 the Uniform Time Act was passed and created what we now refer to as Daylight Savings Time.  While some say the reason for the Act was to give farmers more daylight hours for their work, the real story is something else.  The idea behind it was to save electricity by giving more daylight hours to people in the evening when they would not need to turn on lights as early.

This past spring and summer I felt like a broken record.  Don’t fall back, spring forward …  Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… Here’s your silver lining …  Every crisis brings opportunity …  Restart or relaunch …  Spring forward do not fall back …  Don’t leave the new baby at the curb …  And more …

Yet, it feels like so many are not listening to me or anyone else screaming out with a mixed sense of hope and frustration.  The church has a limited opportunity to re-invent itself – to spring forward.  Everything is disrupted, so anything is possible.  All that we have grown to know and be comfortable with in our churches has at least temporarily been suspended.  So, when anything and everything is possible, why are so many churches falling back rather than springing forward?

In our rush to feel a sense of normalcy, we have too often rushed to fall back to in-person worship even though the average return is one-third of the pre-pandemic worship.  In our too often complacent church mindset, we fall back into the same worship with the same music, same order of worship, same people, and the same focus on those already connected to the church.  In our church stuck-ness, we fall back into the same ministries and same traditions that have not been missionally focused for quite some time.  We keep falling back …

Our dear United Methodist Church came into reality in 1968.  The Uniform Time Act came into being in 1966.  Both are struggling to stay alive and be relevant.  The Act had the best of intentions, but while there is a reported savings in electricity for lighting, there is an increased demand of electricity for air conditioning with people being awake more during the warmer time of the day.  Some experts believe the effects of the twice a year time change is detrimental to sleep patterns.  The UMC was the uniting of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church and has been in decline ever since its inception.  In a February 20, 2020 article by Michael F. Haverluck, the UMC has lost 100,000 members per year for the past several years.  We keep falling back …

What served us in the 1960’s is no longer serving us well today.  Even more, it seems the Uniform Time Act nor the United Methodist Church in its current form is serving its intended purpose.  The Act was meant to save electricity, but it is not and still remains in effect.  The UMC was meant to makes disciples, but has been unable to reach new, younger, and more diverse people since its inception.  We keep falling back …

Before the opportunity completely escapes us to spring forward, please do not fall back.  Let us press forward with a renewed commitment to the movement Wesley started.  Let us spring forward with a renewed commitment to the mission of making disciples and not fall back on all that has held us back for decades.

What is your church doing intentionally to spring forward and resist the temptation to fall back?


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