Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 10 Things That Demonstrate the World You Grew Up in No Longer...

10 Things That Demonstrate the World You Grew Up in No Longer Exists

So what changes do church leaders need to know?

I can think of at least 10.

1. Church Attendance Is Now a Fringe Activity

With the exception of a few U.S. communities (deep in the Bible Belt), nobody asks which church you attend anymore, because the assumption is you don’t go to church.

If respect for scripture is any indication of how people feel about Christianity, according to a recent Barna study, it’s pretty clear most cities in the United States are moving quickly away from some of the historic tenets of Christianity.

That doesn’t mean church attendance is impossible. It just means it’s not normal.

Take Las Vegas, Nevada. Only 14 percent of Las Vegans both read the Bible and believe it’s accurate in its principles.

Yet Vegas has more than a few thriving churches, including Central Church with eight locations and upwards of 20,000 attenders. (You can hear Lead Pastor Jud Wilhite’s story on Episode 54 of my Leadership Podcast.)

Churches like Central don’t fill up because people in Vegas are looking for a church to attend. Almost no one in Vegas is looking for a church to attend on a Sunday.

Churches like Central fill up because Christians invite their friends.

Increasingly, church attendance is a fringe activity.

2. “All Welcome” Means Nothing

Almost every dying church has an “All Welcome” sign nobody takes seriously.

Think about it, if you didn’t go to church, would you take that as an invitation?

Next time you drive by a church building, ask yourself, “What would it take to convince me that I can walk in uninvited and participate in what they’re doing?”

Increasingly, I think unchurched people think about walking into a church the way you might think about randomly walking into a wedding to which you weren’t invited or into a corporate retreat for a company for which you don’t work. It would just be weird.

In the future, about the only way non-Christians will keep showing up at Christian churches is via personal invitation.

Regardless of what any sign might say, the real welcome comes from your members.

3. Regular Church Attendance Is Irregular

The assumption used to be that if you were a committed Christian, you would go to church every week. In fact, even most growing churches still silently run on that assumption, even as the leaders admit that weekly church attendance is far from the norm.

Culture has changed so radically in the last decade or two that even committed Christians aren’t in church as regularly as they used to be. (Here are 10 reasons why.)

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.