Many small and midsize churches are closing across America.Conversions to Christianity are declining. Attacks against Christianity are increasing. Some ministers have become more political than spiritual. Church members hop from one congregation to another. Biblical knowledge for the average person is low.
Ironically there is a solution to this problem, but the churchgoers and even ministers may not accept this. However, it was the way Christianity grew in the first century and eventually became the largest religion in the world. The solution requires commitment and concern. It requires a new priority.
A disclaimer is necessary at this point. Contemporary worship is not in itself a bad thing. The use of bands and orchestras is not a bad thing. Praise teams are not a bad thing.
This is a matter of style and preference by the congregation. If the people who come to a local church want to hear guitars, drums, and words to choruses on a large screen, that is their choice.
However, in many cases the hymnal is not used for singing and the Bible is not used for reading during the service and the sermon. The hymnal teaches doctrine and theology. If the Bible is not brought to church, it is unlikely it is read at home.
The result is a distancing from a basic understanding of spiritual matters and leaves people in a state of a shallow spiritual condition. This may not be in every case, however, statistics prove that professing Christians know little about the Bible, where to find versus, and a conviction of the person of God. When polls have been taken, they reveal a decreasing belief in heaven and hell, the need for salvation through the blood of Christ, and the reality of a person named Satan.
Unfortunately, the American population has become more and more ignorant of what Christianity really is. More unfortunate, minimally is that the concern on an individual basis for the lost soul of a neighbor.
The New Testament provides simple answers. Early believers had a significant conviction that Jesus was resurrected from the grave after being dead three days. As a result, they believed that death was not the final answer to the conclusion of their lives. They believed Jesus would take them to a heavenly place whether through death or at his return. They were so dedicated and deep in their beliefs that they wanted to share their joy with other people.
Today church members expect sinners to voluntarily come into their building and hear the word of God. They expect the preacher to deliver such a significant sermon that the unbeliever is converted and becomes a believer. The church is the place to celebrate that members have on their own and individually during the week lead someone to Christ. It is with the witness and biblical knowledge of church members that others are led to Christ.
Instead of the basic New Testament Way of growing membership, today’s people barely can quote Bible verses by memory and find where Bible verses are located. In short, many members are ignorant and unmotivated without a concern that people around them as family or coworkers are going to hell. Great music, great programs, and even great sermons are wonderful, but people come to God as a result of a one on one guidance.
The farmer, the factory worker, the office worker, the stay-at-home mom, the high school teenager, the young adult, and the senior citizens all have the responsibility to gain Bible knowledge and share the plan of salvation that God outlined including the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Excitement over Easter is more about the bunny than the best God could give through his son on the cross.
So, regardless of the type of church program, the way to grow a church is for the members to be biblically knowledgeable and to witness to those around them for the need for salvation, the congregation could even schedule an old-fashioned weekly visitation. Understandably that was stopped because those being visited were busy or not at home. Nonetheless it would not hurt to have an organized outreach program with church members visiting people routinely in the surrounding community.
To grow a church is to grow it the way the New Testament saints spread the word by conviction for lost souls, and excitement about Christ’s resurrection, and with biblical knowledge. Then the church receives the newborn babes in Christ and encourages them and teaches them and nurtures them.