Just a few years ago our church was running a little over 150, today by God’s grace we have grown into a healthy, evangelistic and disciple making church of 700 and growing. We have averaged 20 percent growth for the past four years. We tested and tried the restored church paradigm and philosophy. We were determined to not stay STUCK. Today we get asked a lot of questions about this so let me explain.
The problem is widespread, the Church in America appears to be declining. Depending on which expert you talk with, between 70-90 percent of all churches are in need of some type of revitalization. Why are churches losing attendance? Why are salvations dwindling? Why are baptisms becoming harder to come by? After-all, we have the greatest message in all the world. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to forgive us of our sins!
The bottom line, no one’s listening. That’s right, the church has been pushed from the hub of a community and relegated to a silent partner. No one’s listening…
- We are now living in a post-church culture. There’s no worldly benefit to attend church, and often aligning oneself with a church can bring negative connotations.
No one’s listening because…
- People are busier than ever. That’s right, we live in a society that lives at break neck speeds. We are overscheduled, sleep deprived and drained. Sunday has become the new Saturday when it comes to sports and other activities. Simply put, there’s just no time for church. They are not coming to us any longer.
No one’s listening because…
- The American church has lost its primary mission of spreading the gospel. We have perfected being the mouthpiece of God according to 2 Timothy 4:2 but have failed at being His hands and feet. We must allow the gospel to activate us as 4:6 indicates for the eternal good of others.
So what are we to do? My suggestion is to go back to the basics, by taking Christ at His Word and love our neighbor. Here are three ways to see this come to fruition in your church.
- Begin to build a culture within your church where the individual members and attenders love one another by living out the one another statements of scripture. When the local church begins caring for one another, forgiving one another, praying for one another, and bearing burdens for one another, etc., it’s not long before the community sits up and takes notice. We have seen dozens come to faith in our community because they watched us minister to a friend, family member or neighbor.
- Interject the church back into the community conversation by loving the community. At my church, we say “live to bless.” We take our instruction from Jeremiah 29:7, where the prophet tells Israel that once they are taken captive, to go willingly and be intentional to live for the good of that community. In other words, live to bless. And, pray for God’s blessing. Nothing gets a community’s attention quicker than a church that seeks to be a value add. My church desires to make our city a better place to live.
- Each member and attender loving their actual neighbors. What if every member of your church intentionally built relationships with eight to 10 of their physically closest neighbors? How would these relationships be used as a conduit to spread the gospel? Our church took the challenge to actively get to know our closest neighbors for the express purpose of being a blessing and value add in order that we might see some come to faith in Jesus Christ.
No one is listening doesn’t have to be our future. If we will reclaim our gospel witness in the communities God has placed us. If we live to bless, we can see our churches revitalized, by the power of the gospel. Let’s get back to adding real eternal value to our cities by living for the good of our community, the glory of Christ and the salvation of all.