Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vertical Church: Chapter 4 An Epic Failure

The church in North America is fading - fast.  If you are a Christian that sentence should hit you hard.  If it didn't, please take a look at some numbers that James MacDonald lays out in this chapter (pg. 130):

  • 6,000 churches close their doors every year
  • Only 1 in 10 pastors retire while still in the ministry
  • Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church
  • Only 15% of churches are growing numerically in the U.S.
  • 800 new church plants survive each year
  • 10,000 new churches would be needed each year to keep up with population growth
If you are a numbers-person like I am, than those numbers should hurt.  If you're a growing Christian who is sold-out for Christ, you should be concerned.  If you love the Church, you should want better.  We need better.

We've tried the horizontal approach.  We've welcomed business leadership principles, man-centered strategies and entrepreneurship to teach us how to reach customers - the unsaved.  We have replaced lethargic legalism with competency church.  Our approach has been wrong. (p. 134)

I urge you to pick up a copy of this book.  I read this chapter 3 times, and it hurt every time to read it.  I'm not a pastor, I'm not an elder or a deacon.  But I'm sold out for Christ and I want the church to be healthy, growing, thriving and making disciples.  I want that for you.  And I want that in my church.

If you've followed our story, than you know that this winter Joel and I found Harvest Bible Chapel.  Our lives have been changed as we work alongside other sold-out Christians to plant a church near where we live.  We are excited to be part of a church that is ridiculously excited to build a Christ-focused church where people are saved, lives are changed, disciples are made and God is glorified.

I don't know where you are in life as you're reading this - if you go to church, if you're growing in your church - maybe you're church homeless right now.  But God wants you in a church where He is welcomed, His Word is preached and the Great Commission is fulfilled.  So, how do you know if you need to look for a new church home?  I sat down with our pastor and we discussed some Biblical reasons for leaving a church. I pray that these reasons may give you some guidance and peace.

When to leave a church...

  1. When a church isn't preaching the Gospel.  Either the Gospel isn't been proclaimed on Sunday or the church has adopted a false version of the Gospel.  (Gal. 1:6-9)
  2. When a church is not preaching/teaching sound Biblical doctrine.  (Romans 16:17)
  3. When the church leadership does not model or promote a Biblical lifestyle.  (Phil. 3:17, I Pt. 5:3)
  4. When the church refuses to practice church discipline.  (I Cor. 5:6-8)
  5. When your spiritual gifts are not being used.  (Romans 12:3-8)
  6. When you're not growing in your walk under the leadership of the church.
If you're a Christian, Sunday should be your favorite day of the week.  You should look forward to Sunday morning all week - and you should leave the church doors saying I can't wait to go back.  My prayer is that would be your experience, if not, pray what God would have for you.


Emmy said...

And that is why I am so thankful for the church that I belong too. It does not and has not relied on man or business men to try and make it more popular or successful, it hasn't changed with the whims of society. It is founded on the same organization that Christ started when he was on the earth, a church lead by a prophet and apostles with true authority and the priesthood as taught in the Bible.

I do want every good church out there to be successful as the more good people that there are that try to follow Christ the better off this world will be.

Anonymous said...

You have showed great perseverance behind the blog. It's been enriched since the beginning. I love to share to with my friends. Carry on.