Because of our claim then we have religious freedom in America, the idea of church attendance has been taken for granted for many years. The urgency of the Gospel has been diluted by secularism. The message of salvation through the blood of Christ has likewise been diluted by topics more appealing to the congregation. Convenience and social norms have come to dominate how the church has designed itself in a society that seeks immediate gratification.
Somehow the idea of being a Christian is now twisted. Especially in America Christianity has been portrayed as something that should be appealing. The fact is the Bible plainly says that being a Christian is not a walk in the rose garden. For centuries being a Christian was costly. At this point in history, those who do attend church are so relaxed in their faith that if they came face-to-face with persecution, there is no telling how strong the stand they would take in exchange for their personal safety.
It is not by accident that the Scriptures record the question by Christ, “when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith on the earth?” Christ did not ask if he would find church members that came to worship service occasionally. It is a sad commentary on those who claim to believe and yet are questioned by Christ whether or not they have faith. The very purpose of the church is to be a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.
Across the nation churches are closing, combining, or their buildings are being used for non-Christian gatherings such as by Sikhs. Congregations can barely meet the heavy financial burdens after a huge expansion. “Build it and they shall come” has not worked for the church. Frankly, most people do not care anything about the church or what it once stood for. The church has found itself in competition with the world. The service must be attractive and enjoyable. Ask those in other parts of the world who must worship secretly if it matters that they gathered together to enjoy themselves.
Churches are sending mixed messages. They offer coffee in the foyer carried into the sanctuary, great music, and a means to resolve the psychological, relational, and marital problems. Even in those churches that declare themselves conservative rarely do they preach about sin, hell, and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It is like the standing of the church has become fearful that they will be rejected by the world. Secularism has invaded the theology of most churches so much so that it is hard to find a church whose heart is bleeding for lost souls.
In some cases, pastors have abandoned the teaching of basic doctrines. As a result, those who do attend church are clueless about Scripture. If they do read the Bible, they think it is to find a way to get rich or have a great sex life. Weddings are occurring less and less in a sanctuary officiated by the pastor. People seem to prefer the great outdoors instead of the great indoors. In fact, marriage almost has a negative connotation in our world. The word church has been replaced by the word center. The central location for worship is no longer called the sanctuary. The name of the church must be catchy and cool.
The public outside the church is less concerned about their eternal souls because the church is not. They do not realize that their souls are that part of themselves which will exist forever. No spirit of urgency drives people to want divine connections. The future holds no encouragement. Adults are not indoctrinating children. Within the family parents are also sending mixed messages because teenagers ask if the adults do not care, why should they. The national conscience of Americans has been depleted.
With all this doom and gloom that I have written, take heart. There is hope, but that hope must be in Christ. Each person must have their own individual revival by coming to Christ in submission and asking for forgiveness. Every professed believer must ask the Holy Spirit to give them a burning in their heart for the lost. More concern for true worship should be the prime motive of those who attend services. The church must reclaim the commission they received from Christ in which he said to go into all the world teaching and baptizing. This is an urgent issue but one that can be resolved by those who attend church and call themselves believers by becoming prayer warriors for the state of the church in the world. The Scripture above to which I referred did not ask if Christ will find people who enjoy going to church. It asks if they will be people who call themselves Christians and who have faith.