Friday, April 09, 2010

Robbing St. Peter's to grow St. Paul's

In the last 30 years we have gone from a handful of megachurches to a handful in every major city. These big box churches have perfected the attractional model of church growth where the main focus is the weekend worship service. Like big box stores they offer more and better services than the smaller mom and pop churches can.

On the other hand, while megachurches flourish, overall church attendance continues to decline in America. Like mom and pop shops that suffer when a big box store opens nearby, neighborhood churches suffer when megachurches attract Christians from surrounding churches. Small churches cannot compete with the professionalism and production values offered by the megachurches.

Although megachurches target younger adults, Gen Xers still tend to stay away from church and Millennials have the lowest church attendance rate of any previous generation. Not only does overall church attendance continue to decline but, also, hundreds of churches in the US die every year and more than 80% of our existing churches are plateaued or declining.

At the same time, denominational leaders and seminary graduates spend precious resources to start the next megachurch. We have gotten good at the attractional model but, rather than being the answer, it appears that it might be part of the problem. We are growing some churches by subtracting from others.

American churches are in need of renewal and revival. Over the years we have allowed the Sunday event to drive the ministry. Sunday is when we worship, teach, fellowship and evangelize. Missional activities are an optional add-on.

If we are to renew and revive the church we must look to the Bible and rediscover the missional church. Missional is a term that is being used to indicate a movement to align the church away from Sunday-oriented, entertainment-style gatherings and back to the church carrying out God's mission. Missional means more than a church doing mission activities. It means a church understanding how God is at work in the world and joining him there.

Baptist Temple is beginning a sermon series entitled “It’s Time… a journey to missional faithfulness”. Over the next six weeks we will explore how to recover the vitality of the church. We will seek to restore the relevance of the church by returning to the mission of God.


george said...

great stuff. sounds like an awesome series.

Lanny Faulkner said...

After 30+ years of ministry, and the last 16 years as a DOM, all I know about evangelism and ministry tells me that you are exactly right. Looks like a great series.

God bless you!