Is Church Dead?

Hebrews 10:25 –  Not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on,

especially as we see the big Day approaching

I spent some time last  week catching up with folks. My business has become so busy I don’t speak with people on a friendly basis  as often as I would like.  In those conversations, I discovered a number of my friends no longer attend church regularly.

These friends are not agnostics, atheist, Buddhist, Jews, Muslims or organized crime bosses.  These are people that talk about God often, read their Bibles and attend various Christian conferences from time to time.  They pray for you when you have issues and check in on you when they haven’t heard from you in a while.  They still love God, they just don’t participate in a local church consistently.  They all give various reasons.

Some reasons on the list of why I haven’t been to church included the following:

  • Just pure disappointment in the local church for lack of support in real life issues.
  • Burned out and/or Bored with the service of church
  • Not really feeling a connection with anyone/anything at the church
  • Not seeing Church as a necessity in their life.  Their life was the same without it.

Perhaps church isn’t dead but it is sick, coughing and wheezing for some.  Like a list of things your doctors tells you to refrain from to improve your health, I have a few don’t and dos also for Church attendees, non- attendees  and churches.  These are a few things I think they everyone  needs to do or stop doing.   get it all “going” again!

Churches

  • Stop attempting to entertain folk like they are coming to a performance!  Stop treating the members and attendees as consumers. They are participates in Worship to an audience of One – God.  Act like it!  If people are spending more time talking about how the music sounded than the experience they had in worship, you are missing it. Engagement is what worship “looks like”.
  • Stop spending most of your time, money and energy on new people or as it is called “the Sunday Morning Machine”. Nurture the “old” people so they will be mature and stable enough in their faith to actually minister and relationally serve new people. Let’s get people into “being/doing” Christ.  I don’t know what that looks like but I’m sure people will know when they are experiencing it.
  • Realize everyone at church is not a new in the faith.  Have some meaty or dare I say expository teaching from time to time.  Some of that watered down topical sermon stuff can make even the staff want to stay home and house clean while they listen to the Sunday podcast.
  • Do tell people the obvious.  There is a real lack of love and care in our culture today.  Sometimes you just have to tell people what it looks like and get them on board to do it and be it.  If people don’t feel loved or included they won’t return to your church.

Attendees of  Churches

  • Stop only spending time with your friends or folks you already know at church. Meet someone new. I know this is hard as we are all so busy and don’t get to see our friends often. But we must move forward to live not for ourselves at church but for Christ.  Be real with people so people feel like they are connecting not breaking into to a social club.
  • Stop expecting to be entertained at church.  Church is for worship of God first and foremost. We have to expect and allow our worship experience to change if we are going to really impact  people for Christ.
  • You don’t have to be an assigned Greeter, Cafe worker or children’s worker to notice folks and give them a hand at church.  I remember when my husband was out of town once and I went to a new church and someone actually helped me with my kids from the parking lot to children’s ministry to my seat with a cup of coffee.  They just went to the church.  It was not their job.  I never felt so loved at a church.  If your church is not loving people are going to come and stay.
  • If you haven’t seen people in church in a while don’t wait for a committee to be formed to call, facebook, email, tweet to find what is going on with people.  When people are not missed it confirms in their minds that they did not  matter anyway.

No longer Attendees of Churches

  • Realize everyone at church is not at the spiritual level you are. When you get in a mix of people someone is going to be offended.  Trust me.  Go ahead now and prepare to forgive.  As a matter of fact go ahead and forgive yourself because you will probably shock someone at church this week with a rude thoughtless remark. Especially during election season. We all know if Jesus walked the earth today he would spend some time in a voting booth – I think not. Jesus is a king! He is coming to take over, not take sides.   I am not against voting but if your political party is so perfect why do we need Jesus?  Oh to make them vote for your candidate. I get it – NO! I don’t!
  • Don’t give up on meeting with a group.  Keep attempting to find a place. We need each other to grow.  We miss you.

All of us, the church and its members,  need to keep people focused on Jesus, feeling connected, and realizing they are safe to make mistakes.  Attendees we need to be part of the solutions not the retreat.  Church we need to be involved with worship, prayer, deep teaching, not gimmicks, entertainment and manipulation to get “hind parts in the seats”.  These attributes make a church and its members  thrive.

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