Packing the pews

October 9, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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The Church of England recently held a “Back to Church Sunday” event where about 2,000 churches encouraged their congregations to invite friends and family back to church. This was an effort to slow the shrinking church in England and resulted in a change in the services of many of the churches.

I’ve got to say that I’ve noticed a trend like this in the US too. Not so much a shrinking church, but a desire and concerted effort to “pack the pews”. It seems the local churches have become more focused on quantity and not quality. It’s become more about numbers in a day and age where the truth of the Bible needs to be proclaimed with a bulldog-like tenacity. The mentality of the modern church seems to be that if we pack the pews and offer all of these “seeker sensitive” programs, we’ll see everything happen at a much greater level and we’ll have more people to do the work of God.

But is this what the church is supposed to be about? Are we supposed to sacrifice the stringent standards that God has put in place in order to fill our churches with people? Is God really concerned about numbers? Does He look down from the heavens and say, “Well the First Bapticostal Church of (insert your city here) had a drop in attendance of 5.648% from last week and they are down a total of 12% for the month”. I doubt it…

What does He say? I think that this is part of the problem. Many in the church don’t know anymore! We have forgotten that the Bible says that one plants and another waters but God gives the increase. We forget that it says when the Son of Man is lifted up He will draw all men to Him. Instead of this, the church is looking more and more like the world in order to “try and reach those who are lost”. They dress like the world, they act like the world, they talk like the world, and they draw people to themselves. But they are not leading them to the Savior who can change their lives. They are making them feel ok about where they are and content with calling themselves Christian while their lives are full of sin and worldliness.

Part of the reason that the church in England is shrinking and the church in America has become more “seeker friendly” is because we can no longer show people Jesus. We are no longer ready at all times with a reason for what we believe. We only regurgitate what others have told us is in the Bible and no longer seek the truth or know how to rightly divide God’s Word for ourselves. It’s because the churchgoers no longer look like Christ, talk like Him, or act like He did that people are leaving. It’s because we no longer have a connection with the power of God that we can’t get people to stay committed to the church. Jesus said that we are to stay connected to the vine or we can do nothing! (John 15). Instead of looking for a new program to bring people in or trying to find something that softens the sting of the truth, why not stand up and proclaim the truth in spite of the reaction you might get?!?!?! Then, when people see that you actually mean what you say and you really believe what you’re telling them, you’ll show them the real Jesus and lead them right to the only One who could ever help them to begin with.

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