Road signs were invented for a very good purpose, to keep us from approaching danger, or getting lost. No one in their right mind would think of plowing through a “Dead-End” sign at full speed. Signs are there to protect us and keep us going in the right direction. May I suggest there are many signs in regards to the Church that are willfully being neglected, signs that will prove to be devastating to the longevity of the Church here in America.
When Christ spoke of building His Church in Matthew 16, He declared “the gates of Hades would not prevail against it.” That means that not even Satan himself would be able to destroy this work of Christ, that even the gates of the grave would not kill the Church. The truth is, I wonder if Satan even feels the need to attack the Church in America, or is he receiving enough help from the inside. I usually like my articles to be a bit more “positive” but I feel some things just have to be said…difficult things.
In America and across the world the Church is experiencing attack on multiple fronts, perhaps none more critical than simple apathy, apathy which reveals itself in the form of Church attendance. In short, people just are not so interested in making it to church. People are not as dedicated to worshipping God and fellowshipping with God’s People. We have such a great freedom here in America to attend Church without the fear of attack yet, we are taking that for granted. Are you attending?
If people do manage to occasionally make it to Church, it is altogether obvious they are not giving to the Church. I do not mean merely financially, but of their own god-given gifts as well, gifts with which they were imparted to minister to God and body. As a result, the responsibilities of the Church fall on a smaller number of people. It has been estimated that twenty percent of the people perform 80% of the work, and give 80% of the financial support, a heavy burden to bear for so few. Are you giving to the local and global work of Christ?
Another area of great concern is that Biblical preaching is being abandoned. We are choosing to “tickle the ears” of people with predigested snippets of entertainment rather than the meat of God’s Word. As a result, many claim the Church has become, in large degree, Biblically illiterate, a far cry from even 100 years ago, that the sheep are being starved. Are you gorging on the Word?
A fourth area of concern is the Church of tomorrow – the next generation. Where is it? It should be in the children, the youth of the Church, but if you look around us you will notice the average age of our congregations is increasing rapidly. Our mission field is surrounding us yet we are neglecting it. They are standing on our doorstep, yet we are not inviting them in. Are you willing to let go of some generational traditions in order to appeal to the future Church?
Though Christ said the Church would not be destroyed by the gates of the grave, He did not say the Church in America would necessarily survive until His return. If the Church doesn’t change the course it is on at the start of the 21st century I fear that it will be merely a remnant at the end of it. Oh sure, it may not be destroyed, but neither will it be the vibrant, healthy, nurturing Bride of Christ that we were intended to be. If things don’t change “going to church” will not be much of an option, and choices will be minimal.
We can no longer afford to speed past those cautions signs at lightning speed, there is certain peril awaiting that arrogance. God has so much more in store for us. It’s not all about us.
The time is now Church. We need to get serious. For His Glory!
“Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth (Psalm 115:1).