I recently attended a gathering of church leaders who come together to share best practices, encourage one another and simply seek God’s guidance for the future. The churches these guys lead have average attendances of anywhere from 1,000 to 23,000 people. God has entrusted much to this group.
One of my friends at the gathering shared with me from an article he had recently read. The article was specifically about the decline and death of the church in America. The “obituary” cited three primary reasons for the church’s demise.
1. The celebrity role of the Leader. People are drawn more to the personality of the Pastor than to Jesus.
2. The consumer mindset of the attenders. People come to “get” rather than to “give.”
3. The competition between churches. Churches are more interested in building their own kingdom than they are in building God’s Kingdom.
I have to admit, I see all three reasons as serious viruses in the church across the country.
The answer . . .
1. The leader must move from being a celebrity to being a humble servant. It’s what Jesus did and it’s who we must be.
2. We must all change our mindset from being consumers to being consumed by the things of God. We are blessed to be a blessing. We gather to give worship and encouragement. We come together to be prepared to scatter for mission.
3. There is only one Kingdom that matters . . . and it’s not mine. All churches exist to join together in unity to bring God’s Kingdom now and forever. It’s amazing what God can accomplish in and through us when we don’t care who gets the credit.
I, for one, believe the church in America is alive and well. It certainly needs retooled, reinvented and, in some cases, rebirthed . . . but as Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “Not even the gates of hell will stand against it!”