To My Brother, MIA


When I was a kid, they built this suburban church near I-275 that rivaled the Colosseum in Rome. You could fit four of my church inside it. Every time we drove past, my folks would comment on how big it was. In my mind, it was as close as you could get in the 1970s to a genuine megachurch. Imagine a sea of cars on Sunday nights. Heck, we’d even watch them park cars on the church lawn. (Hey, there were no Sunday night services at the Lutheran church, so yeah, we were out and about.)

Funny thing is, I’m 45 years old now and have lived in the Greater Cincinnati area for most of my life, yet I’ve never met a single person who attends that church. The Christian world is impossibly small, and I swear that while the world has its six degrees of separation, for Christians it’s more like three.

Still, I’ve never met anyone from that church. Doesn’t that raise questions about that church’s ability to evangelize? If they aren’t getting out and meeting people, including a fellow brother like me, how will they ever lead anyone to Christ? What is it about them that they have no presence?

Here’s the deeper question: Where there was once life...What’s wrong with me that I’ve never encountered one of them? What’s that say about my presence in the community, my willingness to share Christ with someone new, even if that someone new turns out to be another brother in Christ?

You see, it’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

I drove past that church the other night, and it seemed small. And the more I stared at it, the longer I hunted for signs of life, the more it looked abandoned.


4 thoughts on “To My Brother, MIA

  1. Vince


    I think one answer to many of your questions has its genesis in the beginning of your post:

    they built this suburban church near I-275 that rivaled the Colosseum in Rome. It looked like you could fit four of my church inside it.

    Over the decades, we’ve poured 90% of our time, money, energy, talents and gifts into raising up dead stones instead of living ones. There’s precious little left over for the breathing among us. But our monuments remain, and we love them. “Where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also.”

    • Vince,

      Truth is that church pales in size to many of the megachurches that now fill our area. Only then, when it was first built, did it seem huge.

      I’m not sure if the people who built that church had their treasures in the wrong place. Who’s to say when it comes to building ANY church building that it may have been built outside God’s will?

      I don’t know if the people of that church made it their bunker, but I don’t know where they are in our community. I wish I did.

  2. That church might have run in different circles with your churches. I remember going to a Baptist church in Michigan who had a lot of their youth going to Pensacola Christian College. During the height of the Brownsville “revival”, which was a cause celeb in Pentecostal circles, these PCC students were clueless about what was going on across town in Pensacola.

    Also, you might have run into folks from that church as part of para-church activities, where they were flying the banner of Promise Keepers or a local homeless shelter or some other pan-evangelical activity. Just because they didn’t say they were from Beltway Megachurch doesn’t mean they weren’t out there.

    • Mark,

      I dunno. You live in an area for 25+ years after that church was built and you’d think you’d meet SOMEBODY from it. Especially when you lived within 10 minutes of the church for years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *