The following is a 3 minute summary of the invitation of EHS to the church. It is the text behind a video Zondervan is producing to invite pastors and leaders to the EHS journey.
The church is in deep trouble today. It is like we are sitting on top of an iceberg that is melting, but we reluctant to make the needed changes.
Millions of dollars have been spent to analyze the complexity and trends of what is happening in the church today.
Here is what we know:
• The broader culture of the USA is becoming more opposed to the values of Scripture more quickly than most of us realize. In the next 30 years.. “Christians can expect to be seen as increasingly hateful, small-minded, backward and extremist” (The Great Evangelical Recession, John S. Dickerson)
• In most congregations, ages eighteen to twenty-nine are the black hole of church attendance. This age group is “missing in action” (David Kinnaman – Barna study group).
• Divorce rates are just as high among evangelical Christians as among other groups. (Barna Research Group, 2008).
• Only one out of four American Christians study the Bible regularly to find direction for their lives (Gallup, 2003).
• 52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s wellbeing and health. (NY Times, 2010)
The list goes on, but I think you get the point. The iceberg of church life as we know it is melting. That is no longer in doubt.
“People are not experiencing transformation in our churches.” (Willow Creek Association/Reveal study, George Barna)
Most Xians have either slipped into a spiritual coma or are stuck at a wall in their walk with Christ. A new program or quick fix is not going to turn around this reality.
I experienced the magnitude of this problem 27 years ago when I planted NLF in
Queens, NYC – realizing that if are we were going to penetrate this difficult urban environment, people would need to be deeply changed by Christ.
That led me on a journey that we now call – Emotionally Healthy Spirituality or EHS. It is one powerful answer to this enormous challenge before us.
It brings into the life of a church 6 emphases:
1. A Slowed Down Spirituality – Most people are too busy and distracted to really cultivate their personal relationship with Jesus. They live off other people’s spirituality. EHS is an attempt to slow down the pace of people’s lives .
2. Integrity in Leadership – EHS equips leaders on all levels in the church so they can lead out of deep interior life with Jesus.
3. Beneath the Surface Discipleship – EHS looks at how our families of origin, going back 3-4 generations, and our cultures, impact our ability to go forward in Christ.
4. Skillful Community– EHS introduces proven skills developed to train people to truly love well, that we might build church communities that love so powerfully that the world actually becomes thirsty for what we have in Christ.
5. Passionate Marriages and Singleness– EHS is about intentionally equipping
marrieds and singles to live in such a way that they are a sign and wonder. And in doing so, they serve as anchors for our churches and our communities.
6. Missional Workers –The real fruit of EHS is getting our people to bring what they learn and experience in our churches to the marketplace so they can bear witness to Jesus Christ there.
So let me invite you to consider taking the EHS journey.
And you will find God will meet you and your church in ways you never dreamed.
And we will build a church that will transform not only for our generation, but the generations that will follow.