You have heard me quote that somewhere between 80-90% of churches in America are either plateaued or in decline. This is true regardless of size, denomination, style, or geographic location. The bottom line is that churches are simply not moving in the right direction when it comes to growth.
The Unstuck Group has research that says churches in America are only baptizing around 5% of their weekend attendance on average annually. In other words, a church of 500 is seeing an average of 25 people take the step to profess their faith in Christ and follow Christ in baptism. We had 22 churches reporting NO baptisms. Surely by God’s grace and our intention we can baptize over 500 people in an area where 68-85% of those living in our counties are unchurched, lost, and searching for God.
We CAN do better and WE MUST DO BETTER!
Paul Alexander, from the Unstuck Group identifies FIVE BIG REASONS WHY MORE PEOPLE DON’T MEET JESUS AT YOUR CHURCH.
- CHURCHES ARE INSIDER FOCUSED. You’ve heard/read me say that most churches in America make decisions based on who they are trying to keep, instead of who they are trying to reach (Andy Stanley). THAT is the definition of INSIDER focused. Churches are some of THE most change resistant groups anywhere! Our practices, preferences, ministries, the language used, and the way we spend our money demonstrate we care more about people who are already in the church as opposed to people who have still not met Jesus. I’m concerned that we have salved our conscience by giving to world missions (which IS vital) but have totally neglected our own backyard (our JERUSALEM). It is impossible to deny the declining baptisms over the past 10 years.
- LACK OF INVITATION. Many people never say “YES” to following Jesus because they aren’t given the opportunity to do so. While a majority of churches talk about Jesus, fewer and fewer churches are INTENTIONALLY sharing the GOSPEL and giving people an opportunity to come forward and say “YES” to following Jesus, both IN our services and more importantly when we are ON MISSION IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
- CHURCH HAS BECOME UNINSPIRING. Too many churches have taken the most incredible, inspiring, and life-changing news about Jesus and the hope of forgiveness, freedom, peace, and redemption, and turned it into an academic conversation. Facts don’t change lives. We must not be afraid to FEEL our FAITH…CELEBRATE our FAITH…and let our FAITH MOVE US…sometimes to tears…sometimes to lift a holy hand…people in today’s world need to see and want to be a part of something that has REAL POWER and changes lives! Jesus changes lives.
- PEOPLE ARE EMBARASSED TO INVITE THEIR FRIENDS. Many are embarrassed that our facilities look like the 1980’s or earlier…they are afraid that their lost friends will not be welcome and will be treated poorly…they’re also afraid the music will be dead and the sermon will be boring.
- THE CHURCH HAS FORGOTTEN ITS MISSION. Church is not for Christians. It doesn’t exist for the people INSIDE the church. The church exists for people who don’t yet know Jesus.
You may not like this list, but it is true. It simply doesn’t have to remain true. The local church proclaims THE ONE WHO IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD…JESUS! May we repent of our coldness, and choosing our preferences/comfort over the mission of Jesus. Pastor Josh Butler said, “Our problem is not that we’re reaching for God while He refuses to be found, rather God is reaching for us while we’re clutching our idols.” OUCH…