When Copernikus in the 16th century said that it is the sun, not the earth, that is the center of the universe, his discovery resulted in a paradigm shift. People had to start to think anew and the change was radical. I believe all old institutions and fellowships need something similar. It is a real challenge to keep a work fresh and vibrant. This is so true for the church as well. About a year ago I made a small investigation concerning how many people generally participate in the lutheran parishes that are close to us, in Vaasa and Korsholm. They both had approximately 40 persons worshipping with them each Sunday. The number often went down to 20 per Sunday. In some (fex Sion, the Pentecostal church) the number is higher, but generally most churches end up with the same figures as the lutheran churches. The big difference, of course, is that the lutheran churches have up to 10-12 000 members. With that in mind 40 participants in a Sunday service is a very scary number.
We live in a rapidly changing society. When I was around 10 years old in the 1970’s everyone was riding his or her bike without a helmet. Today, almost 50 years later, this is something unthinkable. Most people on their bikes use helmets (except me that is stuck in the 1970’s) and no one drives a motor bike without a helmet. Times change.
We long to see God’s kingdom touch lives. The real challenge then is to think about the following: When we look at everything we do as churches, what can and should be changed, what should remain as it is? My responsibility as a pastor is to create a place that can touch also a young generation. They are, unfortunately, not among the 40 that sit in church on Sunday.
So we continue to work. We pray, we prepare, we want to learn how to reach out boldly, we try to remain fresh and updated. Updated in our faith and updated in our way of expressing it. We can not afford anything else. Welcome to be part of the team!