Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sermon: Lent 3 - Year A

In some church growth literature, scholars identify what they call the “homogeneity principle.” Simply put, this means that churches attract folks just like themselves. Ethnically, economically, socially, politically, educationally. The theory says that churches need to reach out to folks just like themselves.

So, if you’re a white middle class, professional with a university degree, you should reach out to other white, middle class professionals with university degrees. If you’re a farmer who loves getting his hands dirty, then you should reach out to the same.

It makes sense when you think about it. We like to around people just like us. That’s often how we organize ourselves. Especially as churches.

This church has a Norwegian history. The first time I scanned the church directory I was a little intimidated by the Scandinavian names. Tall and blonde I am not. I didn’t find it all that helpful when it was noted to me that, 30 years ago, this congregation would never have called a pastor named “Kevin George Powell.” A name that conjures up the smell of fish-and-chips and stout, rather than lutefisk, lefsa, and chewy coffee.

So, the history of this congregation proves these theories correct. Or at least it used to. But something happened along the way for you to invite this eastern, Anglo-Saxon to serve as your pastor. Something happened along the way that made you broaden who you welcomed through your doors.

You did something the church growth theorists didn’t think of. I think you read today’s gospel and...(read the whole thing here)

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