September 26, 2010, will mark a very important day in the short history of our church. It is a "12-stone memorial" type of day (see Joshua 4). Not only are we closing out a series of messages about the church, but we will be putting our faith, hope, and love into action by signing the … Continue reading Church Still Works!
Our society has a serious problem: we are scared of commitment. "Commitmentphobia" (as it has been coined) is not only affecting men with cold feet but also keeping many Christians distant from the core group of the church. The consumerism of our American culture has fed the downward trend of commitment in both marriage and church membership. Church shoppers & hoppers now have more influence in a church's direction than Christ Himself. For instance, most new ministries are not started with the question, "How can we better glorify God?" but rather, "How will this affect church growth?" Tragically, many churches have become seeker-sensitive instead of Savior-sensitive. The cure: a church in covenant, committed to Christ and to each other. (Nehemiah 9:38)
I recently heard of an English Bishop compare the mission of the church to that of a museum: "I suppose... keeping alive aspects of the Christian heritage for those who are interested in that sort of thing..." Statistics seem to back him up: last year, 2.7m church members left, never to come back again. Every year in America 4,000 churches close their doors (while only 1,000 are planted). There are now half as many churches as there were a hundred years ago. Is this the church's last hurray? Will our generation witness the death of the church? A recent poll revealed that less than 9% of Americans have a Christian world view (believing that the Bible is accurate, in a literal hell / heaven, that salvation is only by grace). Does church really still work? The honest answer is yes and no. Some do and some don't. The difference: great churches are communities where the new covenant has united membership in a common grace and a common purpose. (Ephesians 2:14-22)