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Commentary: Putting the ‘Big C’ back into church

Commentary: Putting the ‘Big C’ back into church

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Commentary: Putting the ‘Big C’ back into church

An e-Review commentary by the Rev. Will Clark | May 7, 2009 {1014}

NOTE: A headshot of Clark is available at

I just finished surfing through the new “Rethink Church” Web site. I like the concept, and the site is well designed.

I am struggling with one aspect of the “next phase” campaign: “The campaign aims to spark a global conversation around the rhetorical question, ‘What if church were a verb?’ ”

I see where the idea is heading, I think. I assume the goal is to make the connection between the church and action; however, to me, this sends a message that we are changing Church from a “Big C” to a “little c.”

Perhaps we should ask the question, “What would it look like if we acted like church were a noun?”

If the point of this campaign is to look more like the Christ-less world so they will be in ministry with us, then I think we are getting half of it right. We look like every other aspect of society, where each generation loses a little focus on the Gospel.

Mainline denominations are not declining because they have nothing to offer that the secular world wants. We are dying because we give up the Gospel because the work is too difficult. The message is too challenging and will run people off. The moral standard (set by Christ) is too high so those who fall below feel excluded, and we focus on including them in our activities instead of meeting their needs.

What if we stopped telling people we feel sorry for them because they are struggling, and acknowledge that it is our fault — the “Big C” Church — that poverty, immorality and corruption are rampant? We keep moving the moral bar lower and lower. There is no challenge offered by Christians to the secular world we are called to reach.

No, church is not a verb. The Christian Church is a noun denoting followers of Christ Jesus. So instead of putting the “little c” in church, why don’t we put Christ back in Christian? Perhaps then the secular world would see a person to emulate instead of an activity to participate in.

News media contact: Tita Parham, 800-282-8011,, Orlando

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Clark is associate pastor at Orange Park United Methodist Church in Orange Park, Fla.