It seems that almost every blog or news article being written today is about the decline of Christianity and the Church. If we were to believe the reports, we can expect the archaic practice of Christianity to be completely gone in just a few short years.
Attendance is in decline, the number of “nones” (Those claiming they have no religious affiliation) are growing, and churches are closing their doors.
Legislation may be in the works to revoke the tax exempt status of churches and ministers as well as stiff penalties if anyone disagrees with cultural shifts in morality.
As a pastor, if we are to believe these reports, we are in trouble.
As a follower of Christ, I’m nearly giddy with excitement.
Why, you ask?
1. True Christianity has always been about knowing God, not attending services. I could care less if you attend church services if you don’t KNOW Jesus. The fact is, most people leaving the church or declaring themselves as newly converted “nones” have never truly know Him. No matter what the trends say, Jesus is still at work and I KNOW Him.
2. The church lost it’s way in the boom of the late 20th Century. The focus looked more like building an empire with huge buildings and superstar preachers than building the church and the public revolted. Returning to the true purpose of the church has always been the key to being the true church.
3. American Christianity is completely out of touch with what Jesus said was important to him. We have become lazy, selfish, and way too comfortable…but that’s not where God moves. There’s a reason the church is exploding exponentially in closed and poverty stricken countries. That is where God is working.
4. Now that popular culture no longer validates our faith, a person will no longer choose it because it is popular. Instead, they will choose it because it is real. That is what we need more of. Real faith in a real God that is at work in the lives of those who worship and follow Him.
I believe the future of the church is bright because we can finally move past the over saturation of American culture that has invaded it. We can be alive and on fire for the one that gave His life for us.
Matthew 13:18–23 (ESV)
The Parable of the Sower Explained
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”