Every religious survey in the past 20 years has shown a downward spiral in church attendance. Granted, there are some mega churches that have been started and are showing growth, but these are more due to population growth than leadership. The truth of the matter is that their growth has not kept up with the population growth. Others have grown, then plummeted when their "rock star" pastors were unmasked.
Another astounding statistic is that 85% of the unchurched are actually "de-churched," i.e., they used to attend church on a regular basis and quit! Why did they quit? In one of Barna's surveys regarding Millennials (18-29 age group,) some said they no longer attend because there was no strong Bible teaching. What an indictment on today's pastors and teachers!
Ask yourself the question, what is the local church's purpose? Would it be fair to say that a local church is for a person's spiritual welfare? Its main purpose should not be for entertainment, to help our business, to feed the poor or even fellowship. It is to get the lost saved and the saved to grow in the Lord. When churches stagnate or began to fail, it is normal to assume that they have a spiritual problem. (I am not talking about when their problem is location or local economics.)
These problems do not happen overnight. What saith the scripture?
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:7-8
Obviously, we have been sowing to the flesh. Have you noticed how some churches try to solve spiritual problems with fleshly measures? They start a softball team to attract the young people; start a bowling league to attract the adults or start a bass fishing club to get the old guys. You would think that if we are having spiritual problems we would attempt spiritual solutions. Why not a soul-winning class to teach the members to win souls and give your visitation program a boost? (You do have a visitation program, don't you?) How about organizing regular prayer groups that address the problems? Most churches will not admit they have a problem. They always compare themselves to some church doing worse than they are. Why not pray for our unconcern for the lost? (About all we ever pray for is the sick.) Why not pray for a burden to study God's word? We have more access to Bibles and less Bible knowledge than at any time in America. If the word of God really meant anything to most church goers, you would not see multiple translations used among them.
Develop various Bible study groups that are teaching the basics for new Christians to advanced studies on Christian living and giving (not watered down devotional videos or workbooks by some self-improvement guru.) In many churches we have just about "high-teched" ourselves into hell. The kids are taught by "talking vegetables teaching unbiblical subjects on "self- esteem." Many churches have more counselors and psychologists than they have sound Bible teachers.
Listen to me carefully. God has not changed.
"For I am the LORD, I change not…" Malachi 3:6
If it was sin in 1950, it is still sin today. It makes no difference what judges rule; it makes no difference what society says; it makes no difference what cultures adopt. It makes no difference how many times the theologians rewrite His Bible, He still places His word above His Name:
"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." Psalms 138:2
God's Son hasn't changed either:
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8
Neither did His Son come to change the law or remove it:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17
There seems to be some idea that Jesus toned down His Father, had a much better personality and was certainly more loving:
"…Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." John 17:11
Hear me, the same God Who so loved the world and sent His Son will send the unbeliever to a burning hell:
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28
Believe me, God means business for all eternity whether you and I do or not.
Keep Looking Up!