I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 I found an article on the internet which speaks volumes about the plight of churches across America. It was speaking about the death-rate of local churches throughout our country. Thomas. Rainer, President of LifeWay Christian Resources states that there are 4 types of churches that will soon die. Some congregations are in more than one category. And some are in all four.
They are: The Ex-Bible Church These churches have abandoned the truths of Scripture. A few are explicit in their denials. But many just give lip service to the Bible. The congregation does not study Scripture. The pastor does not deal with biblical texts and the whole counsel of God. The Bible is just another book that rarely gets read, studied or proclaimed. The Word of God has no power in these churches.
The “Country Club” Church Members in these churches see their membership as coming with perks and privileges. They want their styles of music, their worship service times, their types of architecture and their preferred lengths of sermons. They pay their dues, so they should get their benefits—or so the thinking of the members goes. Don’t ask them to evangelize, to put others first or to make sacrifices. After all, it is their church. The “Bad Words” Church If you want to see a “good” fight, go to these churches. Their business meetings are more contentious than a presidential election. You can count on many of these church members to speak to or email the pastor regularly. And those words of communication are not nice words. These are the churches where bullies go unchecked, where personnel committees and boards work in darkness, and where gossip and backstabbing are common. These churches expend most of their energy on bad words. Therefore, they don’t have the time or energy to share the good news.
The Ex-Community Church Go into these churches and look at the members. Go into the community and look at the residents. They don’t look alike. They don’t dress alike. They don’t go to the same places. The community has changed, but the church has not.“Those people” are on the outside. “Our kind of people” are on the inside. The idea of building bridges to the community is resisted if not repulsive. Certainly from a Biblical perspective, the bride of Christ will be victorious. Jesus promises that the gates of Hades will not prevail against her (Matthew 16:18). But we can learn from the above types of churches. They show us how not to do church. We ask God to intervene and to bring renewal.
Lord, bring renewal to Your church beginning with me.
Love, Pastor Mark Adapted from ThomRainer.com, Aug. 22, 2016