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March 11, 2008Leadership

Russell Moore Misses Graveyards

The prolific Southern Seminary Dean, Russ Moore, makes me think about a surprising issue-- church graveyards.

You can read the article here. Until today, I thought I was the only one who occasionally strolled through a church cemetery.

Some excerpts:

Drive by your local booming suburban church, or the up and coming congregation everyone's talking about in your community. You might find a state-of-the-art children's complex--complete with antibiotic soap dispensers on every corner. You might find a Family Life Center--previously known as a gym--with a basketball court, foosball tables, maybe even an Olympic size pool. You'll almost certainly find a feeding hall, perhaps with a franchised gourmet coffee kiosk nearby. What you will not find is a graveyard.

Not many churches have cemeteries anymore. In some ways, that's a good thing. Churches that are growing and evangelistic rightly conclude that sharing the Gospel with the living is more important than remembering the dead...

The church graveyard might serve to remind us of something that we as contemporary evangelical Christians, with all our flash and verve, seem to forget too often these days. We are going to die...

Perhaps, though, a graveyard in our peripheral vision as we get out of the car for worship might remind us of the gravity of the task before us. Maybe a cemetery in at least some of our churches would serve as an icon that all our Babels will collapse, all our wood, hay, and stubble will be incinerated before the Judgment Seat.

After all, our church buildings--even the most state-of-the-art of them--will someday collapse beneath the weight of decay. Your church sign may someday hang silently above some rubble, battered and torn, like the Statue of Liberty in the final scene of the "Planet of the Apes." Maybe the tattered wording on it will still announce to the silences around it, "The Church Alive Is Worth the Drive," but no one will care about how good its sound system used to be. Our hymnals and our bulletins and our PowerPoint presentations and our systematic theology texts will one day wither away into mold and dust...

Only the Gospel, only the power of Christ, will remain...

We're a Kingdom--a Kingdom that spans the ages and includes the dead and the unborn, mighty as an army with banners...

Sometime, when you get a moment, find an old church graveyard and walk through it. Not for the goose bumps or ghost stories, of course, but to remind yourself of some matters of eternal weight.

Good words.

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Russell Moore Misses Graveyards