Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Glance into the Future?

As I shared with the guys last night in class, the Christian Chronicle had an article that quoted a Gallup poll stating that Churches of Christ have the highest percentage of adherents who regularly attend on Sundays. We were at a whopping 68%, while 2nd place Mormons stood at a measly 67%.:) In third were Pentecostals, and 4th were Southern Baptists.

This came a day after some disturbing information I read in another article in Outreach magazine. This article claimed that the percentage of the US population attending church on any given weekend is declining. In fact, only small churches (under 50) and large churches (over 2,000) exceeded US population growth from 1994 to 2004.

I don't know what all of this means for us. As I said last night, we could look at that and just become pessimistic. Or, we could see it as a wake-up call -- a call to get out of our buildings and into people's lives. We can't sit with our hands folded and expect the world to knock down our door. We must GO! That's the 1st word in the Great Commission.

What's that look like? Knocking doors? Setting up "cottage meetings"? (for those of you under 40, that's what we used to call setting up a Bible study in someone's home. I don't know how it got that name) Something tells me if we are going to reach a post-modern world, our strategies are going to have to take on a different look. We are going to have to be creative and bold in stepping outside of "the way we've always done it" (which was really only the norm for 40 or 50 years.)

May the Lord bless us with visionaries and dreamers! The future holds so much potential!


Jeff said...

I'm often simple-minded so that may explain my response. I am convicted that there is one strategy and only one strategy that will allow us to do what we need to do and that is for every Christian to truly endeavor to know God and His desire and to live it. We must love as Jesus loved, serve as Jesus served, be compassionate as Jesus showed compassion. In doing this, we will attract people to know Him.
To me, all else is window dressing. Whether we bring them to our church or to our homes, whether we reach them on the streets or over the Internet, whether we ascribe to the generational differences or the popular term of the day - it will not matter if we are not committed to loving, to serving and to caring.
This is my challenge. I must hunger to know God and to live out God's will for my life. In doing so, I believe I will allow people to see His mercy, His love, His majesty, His glory. If I don't do those things, I'm not sure I can reach them whatever the method.

Josh Ross said...

We are becoming the minority. Every single day, America becomes less and less a "Christian" nation. We must become okay with that. That is the kind of world that Christianity began thriving in from the beginning (from the 1st century to the 4th).
It is okay if prayer is taken out of our schools. It is okay if the 10 Commandments are taken from our courts. It is okay, because no one can take Christ from our hearts, or can keep His Spirit from working in and through us.
Live counter-culturally--it's the way of Christ!!!

Kyle R. said...

Jeff is speaking at the heart of the matter. It doesn't matter what method in an attempt to reach people is used if Jesus is not the Lord of our lives.

Peter would say to the Jews at Pentecost that "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both LORD [emphasis mine] and Christ." Many are willing to accept Him as the Christ, their Savior, but far too many of us have a hard time making Him the Lord of our lives. Peter would also write thirty-some-odd years after he preached that great sermon at Pentecost:"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord," which is immediately preceded by "do not be frightened."

And here's the crux of the matter from my point of view: when we have indeed set apart Christ as Lord in our lives, there's no room for fear, whether or not we live in a time of peace or persecution. When the Lord is in control of my life, wonderful things for His glory are happening.

My prayer is that God will open the doors for us to magnify His name and that we will have the wisdom to see those open doors, and the boldness to walk through them, individually and collectively.

Rick Ross said...

Wow! You guys are so right on with your comments. I guess I got a bit ahead of myself and just assumed so much of what you all said. It is so much about being who He has called us to be. However, I do also believe that we need to be thinking strategically.

But in whatever we do: Let's make the Main Thing (Jesus) the main thing.

Thanks, brothers (and brother-son)

randy said...

I'm speechless. How blessed I am to have the four of your as brothers.