Five Reasons Why Churches Are Dying and Declining Faster Today

September 14, 2016

“In the past, I’ve been able to lead churches to growth. I can’t do it anymore. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

A pastor shared those sentences with me just three days ago.

He was frustrated. He was confused. He was exhausted.

And he is not alone.

With some exceptions, it is indeed more difficult to lead churches to growth. Such is a reality that is about 15 years in the making. The obvious question is “Why?” Allow me to articulate five of those reasons.

  1. Cultural Christianity is declining rapidly. It is really a misnomer to call it “cultural Christianity,” since it’s not true faith in Christ. In the past, many people felt it was culturally, economically, or politically advantageous to be a part of a congregation, even if they weren’t true believers in Christ. These attending non-believers padded our numbers. Or to say it another way, the pool of willing attenders has diminished greatly.
  2. The exit of the Builder generation. The Builder generation has kept many churches alive, even if the congregations are on life support. This generation, born before 1946, is fiercely loyal to institutions, including local churches. They stuck with congregations in good and bad times. But, in 2015, there were only 28 million Builders left. Another 13,000 Builders die every week. The loyal generation is few in number and will soon be no more.
  3. Migration from rural areas and small towns to the cities. In 1790, only 5% of Americans lived in cities. By the 1960s, the percentage of Americans in cities skyrocketed to 65%. Today over 80% of Americans are city dwellers. Rural and small-town churches held on tenaciously to their members for over two centuries. But the population base for those tenacious churches has dwindled dramatically.
  4. Faster church transfers. Those who are transferring from one church to another are concentrating in fewer churches. Simply stated, a few churches are getting bigger at the expense of smaller churches. While that phenomenon has been in play for quite a while, it is now accelerating. The old barrier that held people in specific churches – family connections, denominational loyalty, and loyalty to a specific congregation – are no longer barriers today. People move with great freedom from church to church.
  5. Slow response to change as change accelerates all around us. Many churches are incredibly slow to change. For most of our American history, the pace of cultural and technological change was sufficiently paced for churches to lag only five to ten years. Now churches are lagging 20 and 30 years as the pace of change increases dramatically. To many attendees and members, the church thus seems increasingly irrelevant. To be clear, I am speaking about issues of style, methodology, and awareness, not changing doctrine or biblical truths. A church guest I recently interviewed said it clearly: “I stuck with my parents’ church as long as I could. But when we had a big blow up over projection screens in the worship center, I had enough. I wanted to go to a church where matters of minutia were not issues to fight over.”

If you think it is more difficult to lead a church to growth, you are right. If you have noticed the decline in your church is greater, you are probably right as well. And if you are to the point of realization that your church may die in the next few years, it may come sooner than that.

In a future post, I will address how smaller churches can deal with these challenges. Warning: the solutions are simple but not easy.

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106 Comments

  • Weird…sent comment…didnt post. Did i get banned? Thx

  • Only my experience…i surrendered as a teen ready to give all, went to a strong conservative christian college, picked up a degree in secondary Ed and a masters elsewhere. I love the Lord and love learning Him!
    THEN i learned that church had become a business, willing to go into substantial debt to “grow”, governed by a convention somewhere, focused on gaining “giving units” to support the debt, and relying very much so on nepotism. Preaching was no longer expository teaching for the spirit but heavily “business” influenced in just the areas you mentioned…and others.
    The final straw for me, early on, was when i was once asked by a pastor if i ever thought of being ordained. I simply asked “why” and waited. This is no joke. The answer was several great tax advantages.
    I would be “in ministry” today, BUT ONLY if God clearly makes it happen! Otherwise i will continue whatever “secular” employment God provides. I want No Part of the above “stuff”!!!
    Topically and culturally Id say every point is correct. And that leads to…Spiritually its because “you left your first love”. Which is all that matters:)

    • If you are following Jesus right now you are “in ministry” wherever you are. Don’t let the fact that you are not on staff in a church keep you from thinking you are in the ministry. We are all called to be disciple makers and our mission field is wherever God has placed us in our neighborhoods and work-places. You can be a missionary to the people you come into contact with every day. You do need to have people who support you in this calling so try to find people who will lift you up and guide you in serving God in your mission field. God can and will use you to build His Kingdom in the trenches of everyday life so look for ways to serve Him there. You may very well be serving your calling right where you are.

    • Rick C. , you need to find another circle of healthy and Biblical churches. Because there are churches out there that have a passion for God’s glory alone! Who are loyal to His WORD and do not walk in the fear of man. Yes, they are harder to find these days. But God has HIS remnant. Please don’t let the carnality of so called Christian leaders and churches, keep you from going into the ministry and making a difference and being authentic! This is exactly how the devil works. Where there is error, there is death, discouragement and destruction. Listen to God not those other men.

  • This article misses the target by a country mile. You can do nothing about the first 4 items. Historically, this type of phenomena has always occurred. The last item, “slow response to change,” has always characterized the church as well. Due to its conservative and/or institutional nature, the church has typically been slow to change. But these are only observations of facts, not the reason the church is declining. The reason the church is “dying and declining faster today” is because people do not want to hear sound doctrine.
    “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3–4, ESV)
    The answer is not to accommodate the culture, but to preach Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins.
    “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:17–25, ESV)
    Unfortunately, many preachers do not preach the gospel which has the power to save and they do not preach the Word which has the grace to sanctify.
    “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1–2, ESV)
    Some who claim to be teaching the Word are like the Sadducees who are really teaching their traditions.
    “But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29, ESV)

    • Thom Rainer says on

      A country mile is definitely a long distance.

      • And so, just like in these replies to this blog, the bickering continues, the blaming continues, and the churches keep dying.

      • Thom Rainer says on

        You nailed it, Gary.

      • When Jesus was accused of casting out demons by using the power of Satan he told the religious leaders – “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” I think this is another reason the church is declining so much in the U.S. We are a divided family in this country and all of the feuding with each other is causing us to fall apart. We can’t even begin to love people outside of the church because we don’t know how to love each other inside of the church. We spend a lot of our time attacking each other rather than banding together to fight our real enemy who is wreaking havoc on our culture because we are too busy battling each other. We need to figure out how to live like Jesus commanded in John 13:34-35 – “‘So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.'” We aren’t proving ourselves to be very good disciples of Jesus many times and the internet and social media helps everyone see how poorly we are living up to Jesus’s command.

      • My sentiments exactly Gary… hmmm…

      • Wayne Layton says on

        I was being generous 🙂

    • Utter nonsense! A rambling pseudo political response with typical cliches which by the way affirms the problem. Dr Rainer is “spot on:” and the hysterical “know-it-alls” are too busy talking to listen. The Article makes no conclusions but puts a finger on the issues of the day. Jesus did the same as he commented on the people. Unfortunately we are in an era where many Pastors claim know everything. Sometimes listening, praying and considering is more worthwhile than “showing” your knowledge! and the “preach it and they will come crowd” become tiresome. Paul constantly speculated why people fell away.
      Thanks Dr Rainer -great Article.

  • Before a normal wedding ceremony, the bride always cleans up and presents herself, to her intended, spotless and radiant. God said He Jesus would do that to His bride, too.

    I see this as God cleaning up the Bride of Christ for the upcoming wedding ceremony.

  • Phil Hoover says on

    While I’m at it, the CHURCH is never “irrelevant”–and we must stop worshipping at the altar of “relevance.”

    • However, it should either allow people to contribute or get out of the way.

      • Phil Hoover says on

        It depends on what the “people” want to contribute…God has standards for His church, and those are not negotiable. God also has a mission for His church, and it’s not negotiable.

  • I understand Dr. Rainer tends to focus on practical issues, & I’m totally good with that, but a spiritual issue that is underneath many dying churches is the fact that they’ve not been engaged in the mission for quite a long time. Jesus will only allow His church to stray for so long. In addition, the practical issues that every church faces (facilities, finances, etc.) are only complicated further by the fact that the church is not focused on advancing the Gospel & making disciples. The hard truth is that congregations who have had spiritual/missional issues for generation simply may not have time to work through their practical issues. Apart from the church’s repentance & God’s sending revival, they will die, & the cause of death will be unfaithfulness.

    • Phil Hoover says on

      We haven’t biblically discipled people for a very long time. We’ve brainwashed (for lack of a more sanctified term) into our “ways”…but we’ve not discipled them into becoming fully committed followers of Jesus. We’ve not given them the space to be “biblical” and “different” at the same time. We’ve made sure all the most recent technology is in our sanctuaries…but we’ve not made sure the convicting power of God the Holy Spirit grips people as they gather in His name. We’ve not soaked our altars with prayer and tears–because, after all, the “praise team” has to practice instead. We’ve not allowed “confession” to take place, because we don’t want that sort of thing to happen on “livestream” anymore. We don’t want people to feel “deprived” because after all, we can still “follow Jesus” and “have it all” at the same time.

      Maybe–possibly–probably, we need to see how the New Testament Church was “on mission” and how we must “be on mission.”

    • Well said, Matt. Thanks for the good additional perspective.

  • Message must NEVER change! Methods MUST change! This is 2016 not 1970. To quote a classic, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!”

    • Craig Giddens says on

      The problem is many churches in their effort to change methods without changing the message do change their message. It happens so slowly they don’t notice.

  • I think using multiple services could be a way of being 2 or 3 churches in one building. My dad’s church has an 8:30 service for the older members. The piano is played, hymns are sung, and the pastor wears a tie! At the 11:00 service, the guitars come out, praise and worship songs are projected on the screens, and the pastor is in blue jeans carrying an iPad. With the range of members so great, it is their way of trying to include everyone.

    • But I think this is a huge problem! We shouldn’t segregate the differing age groups and cater solely to them. Will heaven be like that? No. The youth should be taught and inspired to embrace the great truths / theology of the hymns and the older generation should try to be more open to the lighter songs of praise. We need to blend and minister to all the age groups in ONE service. If we think more “CORPORATELY” we possibly could learn from each other instead of segregate from each other. This is my aim as a worship leader and the pastor’s wife. Style has way too much power in the minds of church going Christians today. Truth should be what consumes us not style. If our churches were well taught the WORD OF GOD by men who are gifted and called to teach and their hearts were transformed by it’s power, then these petty issues would fade away.

  • I definitely see these trends. I have been preaching to a congregation of 5-8 people in the last few weeks. They have asked me to consider being their bivocational pastor, but there really seems to be no hope as they only long to exist and do nothing more. It is one family that wants to hold on to mama’s church. As much as I had considered taking the opportunity because divorced men like myself rarely get opportunities where I live, I know I would just simply exist. I look forward to reading the next post to see how the principles could potentially apply to a situation like that.

  • Thank you for your post, Dr. Rainer. It is very timely. The quote from a church guest that you mentioned in #5 struck a chord as it is what I fear happening in our church. DIsputable matters wreak havoc and the consequences of disagreements rising over them is a decimated church.

    I look forward to reading more about the challenges ahead.

  • While age and regional demographics are a factor, there is also the fact that you have an organization with 5 generations present. This is probably the first time that has occurred. Lately, there has been strife between different generations. The younger generation feels like they are being run off and excluded but cannot donate a lot of money (to buy their way in), have different political leanings, and aren’t politically connected like the older generations. The older generations still believe in waiting your turn. The younger generation, raised to be hyper-competitive even in kindergarten, don’t really want to wait to be included and will find organizations that will include them or go it on their own.

    • As a “Builder”, my experience has been that we are shelved in favor of younger “potential” leaders who usually have neither the skill, time, or inclination to assume the roles that “Builders” have left. Careful indentification of key talents and mentoring are traded for what have been erroneously considered the “future” of the church, which, in fact, is present discipled leaders. The growing absence of intentional strategies for growing disciples in favor of consumer-oriented programming, is one of the causes at the root of church failure.

    • Came to say, maybe useing different way, the same thing. However, there are a few out there that do allow for a flow. Unfortunately, most will only give lip service to the idea.

    • Phil Hoover says on

      And sometimes the “reverse” is true. The “younger generation” believes that no one ever “worshipped” until their crowd arrived…and nothing could be more false. The older generation needs to show some tolerance and kindness, while the younger generation needs to show A LOT of respect. The younger generation makes FAR MORE money than anyone in the “older generation”–but how many of them are tithers? If the truth were told, I’m sure it would be an abysmal percentage.

      The younger generation is to be nurtured, cherished, and encouraged to grow in their faith, and to move forward–but never at the expense of ignoring or diminishing the “older” generations. There is no “church of the past” or “church of tomorrow”…we are only the “church of today.”

      • Of course tolerance, kindness, and respect go both ways. However, one group is entrenched and the other is not.

      • Phil Hoover says on

        No, all groups seem to be entrenched. Everyone seems to be “entitled”–either by age, “relevance” or posterity. I’m in the “middle-age” group, and I’ve seen the older (than I am) crowd sit and sour, and then growl if anyone says anything.

        I’ve also seen the “younger crowd” behave as though no one ever knew or did anything until the “HillSongs” group graced the local congregation with their advent.

        Every generation stands on the shoulders of their predecessors…and we desperately need each other. What will it take for EVERY generation to realize this?

      • With all due respect, the younger generations are not entrenched.

      • Mark, the younger generation is indeed entrenched heavily in the “traditions” of “contemporary” worship. They are no different in their insistence that worship be “just the way we like it”. Frankly, every person deserves a service in which they feel able to worship freely.

        If you like “traditional”, then it’s none of your business what they do in the “contemporary” service.
        If you like “contemporary”, then it’s none of your business what they do in the “traditional” service.

        I’m speaking from experience in multiple denominations in multiple states. My “calling” over the past 20 years has been to help churches add a contemporary worship. In each case, the generations are “entrenched” in the sense that they desire a meaningful time of worship.

      • Love that! We have to focus on being the ‘church of today!’

      • Steve Church says on

        I hear that Gen X and the Millenials are making LESS money than older generations and therefore harder for them to tithe or give substantially, funding-wise. What’s the truth?

    • Dave Bradley says on

      Phil, I certainly agree with your point regarding the current generation that refuses to wait their turn. It is a totally different world. The traditional generation could afford to “wait their turn” and not pay a horriffic price for it. The world has changed as you were illuding to. That is quite interesting to think about how the different generations think and act. Very good point Phil!

      • The younger generations have been pressured to achieve so much so quickly because they have no idea of what will happen to them. They cannot plan on living somewhere or having the same job for more than 5 years. How can they wait their turn? Their friends are likely turning agnostic or atheist and having children who may be openly hostile to religion. Yes, Christianity was illegal in her early days and yet thrived but did not hold people back who were risking martyrdom.

      • I’m sorry, but I simply don’t buy that. In my church we’ve almost begged younger generations to get involved, yet I’ve found them more reluctant than anyone to commit to anything. If they do get involved, they more often than not want everyone to pander to them. People have made excuses for them all their lives and treated them as victims, when most of them don’t know what real hardship is.

      • Phil Hoover says on

        Yes, we have the “must-be-pandered-to” generation, sadly enough even in the local church.

      • I’m curious. What are you asking them to commit to? Are you asking them to commit to the church as it is now and how your generation thinks it should be? If so, they may not want to commit to that, and that doesn’t make them wrong. Their culture is different and they have to serve in the way they feel called to serve in their context. And just because they don’t want to commit to what you think they should commit to doesn’t mean that they are asking you to “pander” to them. If you believe that helping them serve God in a different way than the way you do it now is called “pandering” then you may have the wrong attitude about them which they will sense as well and they won’t want to commit to being around people who don’t love them for who they are.

      • I’m confident that Jesus would know how to engage today’s younger, pandered-to generation, and he wouldn’t use a gimmick but he would relate. He told parables about family, money, relationships, etc that his hearers could relate to and understand. That, accompanied by real impact on lives (miracles, stopping stoning, grace for prostitutes and immoral women, not intimidated by the rich & powerful, etc) caused people to flock to him.

    • Robert Lewis says on

      I am a Generation X pastor of a small town (50K population) church. I do not think I am alone in having in great admiration for the “Builder Generation”. Perhaps one thing the builders can pass on to the younger generations is a revision of their belief system. Anything that is built in volunteer organizations is built on credited service, hard work, and an unseen tribal system of influence. It is just basic sociology (If you do not believe me, consult sociologists that worked with volunteer organizations like Edwin Friedman or Lyle Schaller who have written extensively on the unseen networks that run church decisions). Thus the loss of the “builders” will be followed by the leadership of the Boomers, then Gen X, in succession based on years of credited service. It is absolute folly that any generation thinks they will undo these systems. A wise person (especially a pastor) recognizes these patterns and works with them. One does not become a CEO (in terms of influence in a structure) unless you buy the company, inherit it (which is often a recipe for failed leadership) or work your way up the ladder. If you are a young person who wants to lead a church system to change, if you wish to work in existing churches, you will need to work with existing members. You will need to know who the players are (matriarch, patriarch, storyteller, gatekeeper) and influence those people. If you win them over, then you can begin to enact change with a leader from a younger generation.

      • One of the key issues that the church faces, with regard to a changing of the generational guard, is that businesses don’t generally deal with people who don’t step down from positions and place of influence in their 60’s. This compounds the issue raised earlier about the church being 20-30 years behind business with technology, decoration, musical style, and methods of communication. Given the fact that many businesses trade out one late middle aged employee for two younger employees widens this chasm even further. So that many churches are stuck 50-60 years behind business and cultural trends. I pastor a revitalization with 5 deacons serving and they great but 3 are over 80 one in his mid seventies and one in his mid fifties. I am in my early forties. We have two part time staff pastors in their thirties. I face opposition rarely but it usually has to do with stylistic changes and money spent. Not generally doctrine. I am learning the key is to lead my older congregants into a mentoring role where they can positively influence the faith and work ethic of younger people. It is hard when people want to give up responsibility without influence, but we must have the courage to lead and be led into intangible areas of ministry allowing other younger generations to make decisions for the future while maintaining a rock solid foundation of spiritual influence.

      • Wow! Mr. Lewis you actually mean I need to apply the skills of a politician to lead my church body?
        Assuming I already place a high priority on prayer, now I must also be intentional in building relationships with the movers and shakers already in place. I’m not mocking this, but it seems like I must seek the praise of man in addition to the leading of Holy Spirit. No disrespect sir, but you response please.

      • It is not seeking the praise of man. It is called leadership. Influence is earned not taken. To earn influence you must first lead people. To lead people they need to realize that you have their best interest at heart. This is still true in the church. This is called leadership not pandering. This does not mean you do what they want. This means that you pick the battles worth dying for.
        When I first got into the ministry my dad (a pastor of 49 years) told me to pick my battles. Not all battles are worth losing influence. He also told me that when people complained or had an idea (no matter how dumb I thought it was) to always consider it, even if only for a second. This showed them that you value them regardless of the value of information or help they give.
        As pastors we are in the people business. We need to gain influence with those we lead in order to exact the changes needed to do the work of the ministry. This is not pandering to people.

      • On and on goes the finger pointing and solutions/counter solutions to this trend. This still does not change the basic realities as presented by Mr. Ranier. Solutions? One size does not fit all. We’ll still will have the big church phenomenon for sometime although I suspect that this church model cannot sustain itself indefinitely. I suspect we are looking at a long term trend of further decentralization of church ministry. Church life should be characterized more by simplicity in organization and direct ministry to those in need. Big events, TV, big music, hyped special emphases are bound to exhaust themselves in the end. Cooperation among smaller, more diverse and humble churches on meeting spiritual & physical needs seems to me to be a viable spiritual path forward.

  • John Mushenhouse says on

    If you know a church on fire for God, tell me and I’ll go. A church where (after) you’ve gone in, you don’t come out the same, believing that God is there (and) you’ve been in His holy presence!

    Leonard Ravenhill

    All the rest are just words.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thanks, John.

      • Rev John J Wilson says on

        Posts like this sadden me. It seems to be saying it is ll over because of this and that reason. Oh,How I wish you could visit my Church and write bout your experience. Then we would have the answers.
        1- churches grow to 85% of their physical capacity. No matter what you do, you can not fill a Church beyond the room in the building. My Church is full.
        2-To start a Church it needs to be Pastor led. Oh you can get opinions on the wall color but the bottom line is that God has called the Pastor to shepherd the flock so when you have people fighting over projectors you hve a Pastor who is not leading. His decision is the decision.
        3- God calls the Pastor as I said but He calls him to serve and to obey. In other words I don’t care if he has 3 PhD’s or just an 8th grade education he needs to listen to the instructions from God. (He will talk but you must listen) Remember these words, “I will build my Church” so if the Church is failing it is not because Christ did not build it. It is because you decided to build it instead.

        Go to any town. You will see some restaurants full all the time and some half full, some empty. Those that give the best service, tastiest food will get the business. In the case of the Church, tasty food means the word of God with discipline. In my Church, (you will notice I say my Church-Every one of the members say the same thing) we have about 60 door knockers per week. Some of you may not even know what that is . Doorknockers means those who go out and spread the Gospel to the community. It is not to bring in new members as it is to show obedience to God. Why so many? It is a rule. If you are a member you do the things of the Church. We don’t permit late, excessive absence without good reason…

        In conclusion, if you have a God led Church through a Godly responding Pastor there will be God led congregations.

      • I agree
        How do you wake a pastor
        That is without leadership and Spitit

      • I see I am not notified of replies so I am glad to run across this again. To answer that you must be absolutely sure that he has no leadership. If by spirit you mean , no life, ok but if he has not the Spirit of God he is not His.

        Be sure it’s not you. I went for years going from Church to Church while I now realize it was God who put me in each position.

        I woulds say pray for him. God may be using his deficiency to motivate you. I woulds also say give your all to the Church. Become close to him and God might lead you to be the motivator, I would never suggest that you leave unless there were definite anti Christian activity going on.

        Who knows if God has called you for such a time as this?

      • Wayne Embry says on

        I don’t see how the restaurants can fill beyond 85%. Why? To respond to this 85% myth, which the “experts” can’t understand, I’ve seen many churches filled to the brim and overflowing!
        It’s according to what is happing there. How good is the “food”? I think that is the real question. This discussion could go in a lot of directions……………. Later! Be Blessed!!

      • I have no idea what you are speaking about. 85% is a general rule. Although it is not written in stone it is a general rule. Look it up.

      • Tanya McGinnis VanCleave says on

        ????

      • William Mike says on

        I hear a lot of “obeys” in this. Are we really dogs that we need to “obey”? Also, where is your proof that a pastor is led by God. That isn’t even in the scriptures.

    • Tanya McGinnis Van Cleave, RPh says on

      How about this? In the past “I’VE” been able…now “I” can’t…what’s wrong with “Me”. The answer to this question is the same as the answer to pastor burnout. NEWS FLASH: Pastor, it ain’t your church. You have never died to self. It’s time to get on our knees and submit to the One who paid an awful price for the right to work through us. If God goes before you, you need no plan. Follow him and you will be as at peace as Joshua was marching into Jericho!

      • Always the pastor (yes). But also many of us are just not welcome at most churches and just stop looking. I’d say the biggest enemy of Christianity is Biblr Thimping which began in 2920 AD when the Findamentslists decided the Bible is inerrant (like the Pope).

      • lizzie james says on

        Rev Jack

        you sound scary and to be honest, i don’t see Christ in you when you speak. I see you an old delusional man full of pride in HIS church and HIS doorknockers.
        i hope for your sake you don’t come before our spiritual dad at the end of your life and hear the words ‘depart from me, you who practice
        lawlesness.’

      • Bobbie Vedvick says on

        I find your comments refreshing and Biblical. Churches were much fuller and members much more loyal before they started arguing about which verses in the Bible were okay to ignore and which were acceptable to obey. It was better when we let the Bible interpret itself (“line upon line, precept upon precept”) instead of erring humans deciding for themselves and by their own weaknesses, how to interpret the Bible (usually it ended in a way that allowed them to continue their sins). In Jeremiah we’re told (referring to the rebellious “church members”, each did that which was right according to their own heart” [vs according to what God said]. There’s a war against obedience today. Love is the “only” thing needed, they say. One doesn’t nullify the other. Both obedience to God and love are needed in equal portions. In order to be a true Christian and follower of God, the motives of the heart have to be willing to learn and change as God sees fit.

    • I know of one group that is experiencing tremendous growth world wide and on a local level too. With over 800 new ones being baptized each day adding 8-10 congregations per day. But I have a feeling you probably won’t want to attend their meetings though several of their meetings are more than likely held within a few miles of your home. It’s especially mind-blowing the growth they are experiencing when you consider that in order to be considered one you have to knock on doors regularly and encourage others to read the bible.

    • Kurt Zerby says on

      That’s why people keep changing churches at a fast pace. They are looking for that experience Ravenhill expresses, but they are not finding it.

    • Firstly this is sad to read churches being on the decline. I think this being only negative. Firstly their are many factors involved in a church keeping afloat as I say. Firstly I’d like to say this. I think this is due to the modern society being different. Societal dynamics changing very different to what they once were & that shows the changing of living times. I’d like to say I think their is a place for them. churches are places of peace. Christian raised, you are considerate, have finer feelings to others. I’d like to say my view is that churches are more affirming than they used to be, & I’d like to say people look down their noses, at down to earth church goers, but church, is welcoming I mean –
      it welcomes people
      from all walks of life. Their now is marriage recognition in churches been introduced. This for churches is big step forward, I mean I
      really feel, that says
      something about
      how far are society has come in acknowledging
      minority community’s. I’d like
      to say that churches are now, more so
      places of our community. I’d like to say some things
      firstly as a Christian,

      I’d like to say this churches are places
      of worship, not
      hang out places.
      Over the years I’ve seen standards
      change in faith practice. I’d like to say I’m all for “all
      including”. i miss the handshake I used to receive from a vicar.
      Church feels less personal now. With church people,
      more interested in number attendees, than forming close rapport with Its attendees. Minority community’s are people that need conserted acceptance shown to them. It’s in how you show, practice Christianity in your life what counts.

    • I do know of that church, it is Water of Life Community Church in Fontana, Calif. You will come out transformed by the Holy Spirit, if you listen.

    • Claire Jackson says on

      Yes..the reason we have moved from church to church ..is that the priorities on friendship and community weren’t there ….what difference did it make to my life. ..no one in a middle class church understood what poverty meant

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