It has recently occurred to me that the church is in recession. The economy is also on the verge of another recession. And, I have no idea how to solve either problem.
You might say, the church is on the rocks. Now, it can be argued that some churches are growing in America. The Roman Catholics and the Assemblies of God churches are growing. They are unique in this time. Other denominations are closing their doors one church at a time.
It is a disturbing trend. I hope we don’t go the way of Europe.
My own church is shrinking by over 1% annually. That truly stinks. It is disheartening.
And, it is not the end. I think the church will continue to shrink in North America. As others have said, we live in a “post-Christian” era. But, I’m not a “Post-Christian”, I’m a present Christian. Even more to the point, I’m a present Christian in a Christian church who hears the message of Christ and Him crucified every Sunday. The other believers around me are an encouragement that they have remained faithful, and they are remaining faithful, despite the attrition.
Semper Fidelis. Although this is the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps, it is also the idea of always being faithful. And what makes us faithful is the faithfulness of the one who went before us, Jesus Christ.
He faithfully came down from heaven and became incarnate to redeem humans who were created through Him yet they fell. He faithfully lived a life of sinless obedience to the Father in order to fulfill the demands of the Law which no one was faithful to. He faithfully laid down his life as a ransom for many and set free people (like me) who were lost in sin and death. He fulfilled all righteousness.
Even now, Jesus Christ remains faithful. He is praying before the Father on our behalf (read Romans 8 and Hebrews 7). He will not give up even if we are tempted to. He sees the same situation. And, although the church might recede in numbers, Jesus Christ never gives up on the church. In fact, He is the chief cornerstone. It does not matter if the church is small or large, He remains the anchor piece holding the church up, and He never fails.
You and I might feel disturbed that the church is shrinking. And it may continue to shrink through our lifetime. But, in light of the centuries, this is only a low-tide point. God’s Kingdom will not fail, and Christ will expand His Kingdom. May we see it in our lifetimes! The church “on the rocks” will become the church that rocks (of course, not in a pietistic way) the world.
Please Lord, hear our prayer.