I stayed in Boston this weekend to attend the Minns Lecture Series at the First Church in Boston. The lectures are done by Unitarian Universalists and can be on a lot of topics based on the idea of “creative theological and religious advancement.” This year was a series of lectures – 6 panalists in all – discussing the questions of where we are today and where we want to go in the future.
First of all, the lectures were AMAZING. Can I just give a shout-out to my brilliant colleagues who can write and speak with such skill and vibrancy? Let’s all say AMEN! (Which a lot of us did. It was good.)
Everyone spoke from a different perspective, and I’m not going to try to summerize all of their thoughts and ideas here. But the theme that ran through all of the lectures and the discussion panels was something we’ve spoken a lot about here in Norton – spiritual depth. It is the idea that churches can no longer be content to be community gathering spots, or rely on the idea that people will go to church out of habit. Our churches must offer compelling spiritual depth for anyone who wants to attend. Or to state it simply, we must have a spiritual reason for being.
I keep the book “A Purpose Driven Church” prominently placed next to my desk. I don’t always read the book, and have actually found it less helpful than some other books about churches. But I keep it there because I have to always, always, ALWAYS remember the title. A church without a purpose should close its doors. A church with purpose – with spiritual depth, with a reason for being, who knows and is not afraid of the great religious questions – that’s an exciting place to be!