Monday, September 1, 2014

How A Struggling Church Can Grow Again

Many churches in America are spiritually sick, but they know it not, often because things on the outside appear to be "alive and well."

If a local church is growing numerically and financially the (false) assumption is that God's hand of blessing must be on that ministry/business/church/pastor.  A cursory reading of Scripture (think about the 'unsuccessful' public ministries of Jeremiah or of Messiah Jesus) informs us how dangerous this line of reasoning is.  Yet every American pastor, where bigger is always better, is tempted to to think this way.  Pastor R. Kent Hughes addresses this very important issue in his classic book, Liberating Ministry For the Success SyndromeNot everything that glitters is gold.  Robert Schuller's, "Crystal Cathedral" and Joel Osteen's, "Faith Center" are obvious illustrations of this.  Many of the largest churches in America, and likely many churches in your own neighborhood, are often a mile wide and an inch deep. 

Suffice it to say, many churches in America (large and small) are in need of serious spiritual revitalization and biblical reformation.  Both the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and the leaders of Together for the Gospel have come to this same conclusion.   This is one of the reasons why I have devoted so many articles to this theme. 

A few months ago I came across an insightful interview and I wanted to share it with you.

The article that introduces this interview begins with these words, We can debate the reasons, but we cannot debate the reality: churches across the United States are aging, and many of them in the coming decade will face the agonizing prospect of closing.