Being a land-locked Kentucky girl, I don’t do a lot of sailing, so when I heard the term “kedge anchor” yesterday, I was lost. Turns out a kedge anchor is a light anchor that has a few different uses, one being to change the direction of a boat. Apparently, when a sailboat doesn’t have wind, a kedge anchor can be thrown in the direction it needs to go. The crew pulls on the line to slowly move the boat along until it gets wind.
I wonder if the Church needs a kedge anchor?
It seems many Churches are content to sit listlessly in the water as society and culture sail past creating, adapting, and embracing new media. Utilizing technology to create engaging ways to reach those who are disillusioned or distrustful of the institution called Church has been the way of some evangelicals. While mainline protestants have largely dismissed and looked with disdain upon those who would dare to shift or adjust their tightly held traditions. “We’ve always done it this way.” is the mantra the undercuts the creativity and moving of the Spirit.
I have lots of issues with evangelicalism and believe that particular brand of faith does more harm than good, but I do long for mainline protestants to embrace some of their willingness to adapt and embrace new media. As the way of the world incorporates digital media more and more, it becomes not only a part of our lives but a part of who we are and how we move in the world. Social media, the internet, and live stream video are intricately intertwined with work, school, and entertainment – all while the Church sits anchored to ways of the past.
Fifty years ago the Church was the center of the community. Now, community happens digitally. Social networks create spaces for communities to take root and flourish. Fifty years ago, the workday was 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Today, businesses are open 24/7 requiring folks to work shifts that may no longer coincide with Sundays off and evenings free for Bible study. Do these folks simply miss out on worship, growth, relationships, and connection to a body of Christ because society has changed?
And what about the folks who have been harmed by the Church? Who love God, desperately want to follow Jesus, but are terrified of walking into a church building? What role does the Church have in reaching out to these folks and showing them love, acceptance, and welcome? I hear churches say, “We are open, affirming, all are welcome.” Sure you are…if we come to you…in person.
The age of our society is getting older – many are ill or disabled – making coming to church in person difficult if not impossible. These pillars of the Church are simply cast aside with home visits often being the only connection to the family of faith that is so important to them. Participating in worship or events is nothing more than reading a monthly newsletter or weekly email if they are lucky. Is this the only path forward for our membership – come to us?
I think the Church needs a kedge anchor?
I can visualize the sun beating down on sweat-soaked glistening skin, the taste of salt in the air, blisters forming on tired sore hands, and the sound of soft grunts as the line is pulled and the boat slowly moves in the right direction. This is a slow, difficult, painful process; after all, changing the course of a listless boat in the water isn’t easy.