The Church of the Nazarene and its leaders submit a report full of statistics lamenting the fact that we've only grown by .6% in the US and that there is a leadership vacuum in the church. I say there is a theology vacuum in the church today. This church, the Church of the Nazarene, seems to be more interested in theories of leadership and growth than theodicy (answers to the problem of evil) and doctrine of God (whether or not Jesus really was resurrected). Woe to you, Church of the Nazarene, when you hear of victims of your pastors and hurt not. Woe to to you, Church of the Nazarene, when you concentrate on the Maxwellian leadership and not the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. When a church is more interested in the skill set for leadership of its pastor, in the numerical growth of its churches, in whether or not its seminarians and its college graduate pastors know how to lead a board meeting than in how it handles the epistemic questions, the questions of faith, like how to deal with the problem of evil or the Holy Spirit and her charisms and how they might inform how the church is run, then that church might as well lie down because it has already died!
Tonight, after I (seriously questioning my faith) taught my kids at church about the power of God, I prayed a prayer of protection for them. I raised my hands and said, "May the God of creation, redemption, and resurrection protect you. May the Holy Spirit fill you and surround you that no evil on earth my touch you. I pray these things in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen."
It is not leadership that will change this church, it is theology. Our pastors must be able to answer serious epistemic questions of theology before they can run a good board meeting (I don't even know what a good board meeting is anyway). I pray now that the Church of the Nazarene will stop trying to look like Coca-Cola co. and Wal-Mart and start looking like the Kingdom of God. I pray this in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.