We Must Get it Right!

    

     Do you really believe the mission of the church is the same as that of Jesus?  In our heads we know that according to Luke 19:10 the mission of the Christ was to “seek and save the lost.”  If in our hearts we believe that His mission is our mission we know we aren’t doing a good job of imitating our Lord.

     From 1980 until today the United States has grown in population by more than 30 percent.  During that time the growth of Churches of Christ in this country has been basically none existent.  Everyday we are falling farther behind in fulfilling the great commission in this country much less throughout the world. 

     We see many congregations in a long-term spiral of non-growth.  Even worse we may see them actually declining in number.  One study I read recently stated that only 1 out of 20 or 5 percent of the churches that decline for an extended period ever regain growth and vitality. 

     Let me share another disturbing fact.  From 1994-2004 established churches contributed 0 % to growth of churches in this nation!  When you continue to do what you are doing you will continue to get what you have gotten!  It is absolutely essential we rethink the  direction, focus, and culture of our brotherhood. 

     Those who have taken the time to research have found there is an exception to the stagnation problem prevalent in so many of our churches.  Church plants continue to grow and do well.  In church plants each year on average 1 person is converted for every 32 members.  In established churches that ratio is an abysmal 1 for every 82 members.  It is firmly proven that church planting is a great way to build up the cause of Christ today. 

     While Churches of Christ have maintained the status quo or declined in the last 20 years the Conservative Christian Church has maintained a steady growth pattern.  Aside from the obvious difference of instrumental music, if you examine the two fellowships you will find the primary differences are culture and direction.  One group has nurtured a culture built on the idea of “fighting against change.”  The other has promoted a culture of “preaching Jesus” through the planting of churches.

     It is obvious that planting churches produces essential growth.  Yet, not all churches or Christians can be involved in planting churches.  Do we simply forget about these established churches?  Do we allow them to die a slow death as life slowly seeps from them?  Is it possible to transpose the same values, direction, and culture that exist in a church plant into our established churches?  Is it possible for a church to regain the vitality of its youth?  I think that it is not only possible but very necessary.  Imagine what we could accomplish if we could transpose into our established churches the same vitality and zeal that exists in church plants!  I fear in our present day churches we have built something that may not please God.  We need to rethink our values and direction.  With God’s help we can do this!

 

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