Here are some staggering statistics:
- Though folks aged 25 and under make up 7% of population of the United States, they represent only 2% of worshippers in churches on an average Sunday Morning.
- Over 1/3 of all the folks who attend worship in mainline churches in the United States are over the age of 65.
- Only 15% of the population associate themselves with a mainline denomination church. Forty years ago that percentage was close to fifty!
- Of those who identify themselves as mainline Christians, less than 1/3 believe it’s their responsibility to share their faith.
The church had its heyday in America and those days are now in the rearview mirror. Tragically the leadership of the church rested on their laurels and we pastor-types got fat, dumb and happy. And even more tragically, the congregants let us.
In our fat-dumb-happiness, many of us pastor-types lost touch with our calling. We became more concerned with our buildings, our budgets, and our backsides than with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we need not sink completely into despair – this has happened before:
If you have leaders there who teach otherwise, who refuse the solid words of our Master Jesus and this godly instruction, tag them for what they are: ignorant windbags who infect the air with germs of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, suspicious rumors. Eventually there’s an epidemic of backstabbing, and truth is but a distant memory. They think religion is a way to make a fast buck. 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Well, I must be doing it wrong because I missed out on the “fast-buck” part. Maybe I’m just not adept enough at being fat, dumb, and happy (though I seem to be pretty good at the fat part). I think I’m too concerned about hearing, teaching, and acting on the “Solid words of our Master”.
So here’s a test for your church and pastor, and a challenge for you:
Is your church a place where the air is full of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, and suspicious rumors? Is there an epidemic of backstabbing? Do you get the feeling that truth is but a distant memory? Does your pastor resemble a germ infected, ignorant windbag more than a person committed to studying, preaching and living out the Gospel?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, I challenge you to prayerfully consider whether you have the depth of faith, and the strength of character, to be an agent of change in your own church. If the answer is yes then first get on your knees and pray for guidance and then get involved in the life and leadership of your church and work to make your church a place where the solid words of our Master Jesus and this godly instruction are taught, preached, and lived.
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions (especially if it was to all) and you DO NOT have the depth of faith, and the strength of character, to be an agent of change in your own church, then get the heck out of there and find yourself a good one! I’ve seen too many good people of faith dragged down by their involvement in a sick church or with a sick pastor. There are plenty of churches in your community, find a good one.
Hint: The Pastor won’t be a windbag . . .
Pressing on toward the goal . . .