Monday, February 2, 2009

If we always do what we've always done...

The above axiom used to end with these words: ..."we'll always get what we've always had." And while that is still true, these days it's been changed to say, ..."we'll go out of business." And that's true as well.

Read this article in today's Virginian Pilot newspaper. I could write a book in response to the reasons why these churches are "going out of business". Maybe I will.

Do these churches pastors even wonder why their churches are about to close when other churches in the area are exploding with growth? Is there something to be learned from the growing churches? Could it be that a lack of vision (so eloquently stated in the article) has something to do with it?

When you're conducting more funerals than you are baptisms you are in trouble. But to resign yourself into accepting there is nothing that can be done to right the ship is a sad commentary on an institution about which Jesus said, "The gates of hell will not prevail" against.

This article touches really close to home here. I want to grab these churches and say "Change or die - but don't blame it on demographics or the economy. You're going under because you've lost whatever relevance you had to the culture in which you're planted."

I'll step off my soap box for now.


CFHusband said...

Make sure you read the comments under that article as seems you (or was that me commenting?) are not alone with your thoughts about the true reason churches are closing their doors.

BrunetteKoala said...

Well said!!

I think that one sentence 'But we've always done it this way" drives me crazy. Not that I think we should just change for the sake of changing.

Hang on to what is good and works.
Change and learn from what has gone badly.

virginia said...

Well said Pastor.
When I read that article early yesterday morning, I had to re-read it several times before I could believe what I was reading. I was hoping to see somewhere in that article the opinions of the pastors they spoke to, as to why some churches are large and some are small. "The days of the full-time pastor, except in the very largest churches, are coming to the end," the Rev. Art Jensen said.
Also regarding Rev. Short, "Short said only a third of his presbytery's congregations are growing. He wants to see that double in five years." is that so he can pay full time salaries or so more souls are won to Christ.
Surely these are all good, Godly people referenced in the article, I hope before they have to lock their doors permanently they change course and seek to grow the church by reaching and saving lost souls, of which there are many in their immediate community, not by depending on the social security checks of the members to stay open.

jasonS said...

Hi, this is the choir, you're preaching to me! Yeah, I am at a loss with some of this. We've got to wake up, follow God, and share His heart for the world. It's hard to be irrelvant that way.

Alexander said...

The first anecdote? Prayer! It's time to get down on our knees for a lot of us....leaders and followers!

Randy said...

Now *that* (newspaper article) was a depressing and frustrating read (especially to a leader in a "mainline" church)!

But it's common thinking where people view "ministry" (i.e. the pastor's job) primarily as providing a service for members, as opposed to advancing God's mission in the world.

Rick Lawrenson said...

Good to hear from you, Randy.