Recently, I over heard two adults talking about how sad it was that so few attended their church. The lady said with all sincerity, “And, it’s such a cute little church.” I’m sorry but I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut about a matter that is so dear to my heart. They both looked so perplexed over this matter. They just couldn’t understand why people don’t go to church anymore.
I felt like a kid in the classroom with his hand raised. I was just waiting on someone to ask “Do you know the answer?” I looked at them both and asked, “Can I say something about this matter. “Gone are the days that people just run to the church, but it is time for the church to run to them.”
Over a decade ago it was predicted that within the next 20 years the average church would be closed. One, because most realize that if it wasn’t for the senior adult population the doors would have already been closed. But, just as big as that fact is knowing that if churches don’t change their approach nothing much will change.
Many know I started a new church called Refuge because I realized that over 30,000 folks throughout Colleton County alone don’t attend church reguraly. Crazy to me is all the folks that assume we’re just changing our music and not meeting in a traditional church building. Trust me, if that’s all any church changes that will not be enough. Here are some things I’ve learned are critical to seeing different results.
1. BE REAL.
Nothing turns off people more than preaching one thing and then doing another. People must know you are just real people, with real problems, looking to a real Jesus for answers. The average unchurched person is not looking for another church club, but a place they can have a real encounter with an Almighty, All Loving, & All Knowing God. We’ve got to get out of God’s way and let him lead our churches. Not just the pastor, but every believer who makes up the Body of Christ.
2. BE COMPASSIONATE.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Loving people on the outside of the church should be a greater concern than getting people on the inside of the church. Caring doesn’t have to cost a dime. It’s being there when life falls apart. It’s going the extra mile when you didn’t have to. It’s doing what you can, when you can to encourage another soul with God’s love. The church focused most on who they are keeping than who they are reaching is bound for decline. Jesus said,”I’ve not come for the well, but the sick.”
3. BE PATIENT.
Too many expect instant life change. Yet, that’s not how change takes place. It’s a process of understanding what it means to surrender all to Jesus. It’s a process of people loving you unconditionally and teaching you along the way. To help today’s culture you have to be willing to reach people on their front porch, get your hands dirty, and trust God with the life change. Our job as Christ followers is not to judge or produce results. We are called to be faithful, give God all the glory, and trust God with the growth.
“Some plant, some water, but God brings the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
I promise you this. You show me a church that sincerely cares about lost & broken people. You show me a church that is willing to do whatever it takes to reach those around them. You show me a church focused more on God’s agenda than their own. And, I will show you a church that will never stop growing!
*Local Pastor’s & Churches I sincerely pray for everyone of you. May we all keep our eyes on Jesus, do what Jesus did, and never grow weary in doing all we can to lead others to Jesus.