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Wayne222

Churchs are not growing.

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21 hours ago, Willa said:

I agree with Still Alive.  If churches are not growing and retaining their teens and young adults there is often a good reason.  Sometimes there have been church splits that have left bitterness and unresolved problems so the church is not healthy. There is definitely a problems if the pastor is not relying on the Holy Spirit to feed the flock with fresh manna from God's word each Sunday.  The old manna has grown putrid.  

Ours has been planting satellite churches in towns 30 miles away because people were tired of traveling that far to church.  I have seen more maturity of Christians here than in previous churches I have attended.  The pastor believes we should be exercising our gifts, leading others to Christ and bringing the new Christians to church.  So he equips us to do the work and to be strong in God's word.  

One son led his wife to Christ; now his sons are leading their girlfriends to Christ and they are attending church with the family.  The other son finds that troubled Christians at work are coming to him with family and marriage problems and he counsels them according to Scripture.  Each according to his own gift.  His children are following after their dad as well and one is an evangelist.  The other grandson is also walking with God in acts of helps or service.  So our church continues to grow even though the services are not getting larger.  We outgrew 5 other facilities and have leveled off at about 1500 people plus 2 satellite church plants.   Now our pastor counsels, encourages and oversees pastors throughout the Northwest USA as well as pastoring his own church.  He is spread thin.   We have also sent out full time and short term missionaries from our congregation.   Healthy churches reach out to their communities and other countries.  They are not ingrown like a bad toenail.  Just as healthy Christians are not focused on self but on Christ's loving compassion for the lost and the wounded.  

This is interesting. I lived in Seattle for 46 years and, the last couple of years, as we prepared for our move to Kentucky, we lived in the Factoria area and went to a "satellite" church at the Bellevue High School that was doing the "saddleback thing", setting up and tearing down every week. It was a branch of a north end church. We watched the live sermon on a HUGE projection TV and our congregation had it's own band, that was professional quality (I'm a musician in my church and I know a quality band when I hear it). In a relatively short time we reached hundreds of members just in that one satellite (I want to say around 800, but I'm not sure). But they shut it down abruptly. It was weird. It was growing like crazy, but they felt it was not growing in the "way" they had intended.

Was that your church?

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No.  Ours is a very conservative Calvary Chapel in south Eastern WA.  Our satalite churches were much smaller and in small towns, designed to help get churches established till they could afford their own pastors and become independent.  Our Spirit led sermons are studies from books of the Bible which we do in depth verse by verse. They keep me riveted on the edge of my chair, often taking notes.  We have had quality bands comprised of unpaid music teachers and professional musicians who contributed their talents.  In some services we only have an acoustic guitar/vocalist.  Emphasis is on worshipful meaningful lyrics and hymns.  We do have to take down some chairs because half the gym is used by our school and we use an outdoor amphitheater during the warmer months of the year.                                                                                                                                        . It is not unusual to have members leading newcomers to the Lord, going through the salvation scriptures and praying during services as the Lord convicts them and opens their eyes.  Some services have an alter call but not all.  Visitors just say "i want what that guy is talking about."   Pastor says "we just have Sunday morning service and Jesus shows up".

We do have two large Conservative Baptist churches that have become community churches more like Rick Warren's which is why I left after 14 years. They had in time abandoned alter calls and became less Christ centered and more people centered.  One of their small groups was for butterfly collecting.  One is an accountability group for drugs and alcohol.

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Our church is in a small town and there is mostly pensioners around and very few young people due to lack of employment opportunities.There is only an average of about 30 folks on Sundays out of say 80 folks on the books.Yet I believe the Lord will bless us and keep us going if we do our best with what we have .I find confidence in small church of "Philadelphia"(Rev 3:8-10).Our Bible Study Group and Adult Teaching Program is also growing and this is keeping the church vibrant regardless of the  small   congregation.I believe the Lord will provide as He deems fit.

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Perhaps a bit off topic from the OP, but some thoughts.

It is hard for a small church to grow. Typically, a small church, has limited ability to minister to large gatherings, no ROOM to grow, and limited size usually correlates to limited financial support. If it has a lot to offer. and the people are out there letting others know about it, it will grow more. More to the point, if it is God's will that it grow, it WILL grow. Often, it is man's will that wants growth.

I think God is very concerned about church growth (the universal, world wild church), but perhaps not always as interested in the growth of any specific congregational growth.

I have attended 5 churches in the last 40 years, they have all grown, and exceeded their physical capacities. Some churches do nothing to expand, being satisfied to stay the same. The churches i attended, some fell into that category, others, added more services, as many as 7 a week, in order to get beyond limited resources. 

The largest church I attended, grew to about 3000 members, and had to expand the facilities several times as well as the number of services, to accommodate that. However, they did something there, that was something I like very much. This technique, I mention because it can explain a reason why some churches do not grow - they grew by expanding outward. That church, invested in training pastors from within their congregation, and then helped them to start up additional congregations, world wide eventually. From this one congregation, there came daughter church, and grandaughter churches, etc. until today, there are over 3000 of these churches. If you looked at the first church, you would see that it is no longer growing, but what you do not see, is that it has not stopped growing in terms of the growth of God's church, all beleivers. The stats of an individual congregation, can be misleading.

Anyway, from this anecdotal evidence, I am not all that certain, how big a problem of church growth really exists. Small churches might be a bit like small businesses, nost of them appear to fail. When a small business fails, that does not mean that there are no customers, it only means the customers are elsewhere, moved on to something more suitable for them.

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 Technology has played a big part in recent years as to church attendance.  Now people can sit in their homes and visit as many churches as they want and listen to hundred and thousands of sermon, right from their bedrooms, pause and play as  they like and  it is enough for many.   

Also, we have to consider science and the breakthroughs that have been taking place at breathtaking speed.   The universities, colleges and even the high schools are being taught in a manner that places emphasis on the tangible world of facts, with the main theme of man existence and evolution as to the big bang situation.  So now, this is the competition or for a lack of a better word "dilemma" in getting the younger generation into the church door. As soon as they are of the age of non parental control, then the world is waiting with open arms to place them.

No mistake about it.  The devil has his schemes and plots to woe every soul in his camp and the plot thickens.   Why, artificial intelligence is now taking off and the promises of the future for one who is not about seeking after soul issues are being showered in with star wars kind of situation.   Don't know where you spend you time in research and world trends, but the world is rapidly changing and the church is being pushed as being old fashioned.

Is it  not how the bible say things would occur, for we are not to find it strange.    I have seen also many young people don't want to go to churches that they see no future husband or wife and they then go to social type meetings that seem to represent a church type setting.     

The church is still  working and functioning and only the Lord know how the coming years would see it either grow or diminish as to his timing.   There are many things that are taking place in the supernatural world that is just mind boggling .  Wait, 5g technology is just around the corner, and you think the smart phone was a wow, then 5g would blow the roof off.   Look up for your redemption draweth nigh.

As I was recently reading in John, " 

 

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

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God knows who His elect are. The head count of pew sitters is irrelevant. 

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On 3/26/2019 at 4:48 AM, thomas t said:

The main problem I see is that half of the Christians don't want chuches to grow.

Look at this post (and please count the numer of times it has been voted up).

In my view, it has been about keeping the doors of churches shut.

Wayne, let's work to keep all the insults against non-believers out of here. Which non-believer is going to convert when you compare them to "pooping deer" (see again above how many times this had been voted up). Even people who dare to post in this very thread you opened up, they also voted that post up containing the "pooping deer" comparison. So let's work on respecting other people more, please.

I was an atheist once before, and I operated in a very condescending way to any and all religious folk. I would seek out religious people online and, for my own amusement, mock and argue with them. I did not mean to imply that all unbelievers were as I was, or to put it another way, that each and every wild deer WOULD poop on your carpet. Merely that, if you invite a deer into your company, you cannot be surprised when that is what happens.

I would never discourage an unbeliever who is curious, or even just one who wasn't a massive troublemaker. I would only discourage the ones like I was. As they say, nobody is harder on alcoholics than a recovered alcoholic. I would certainly hope that unbelievers change their minds; I think many of them are decent folks and it's tough seeing what they do to themselves. As is typical of me, it seems my previous post was poorly worded.

As for this topic itself, I don't know about this 99% visibilty. In a way, both you and George make decent points. All I know is that i'd rather this forum, which I have come to enjoy, not fall like so many other Christian forum sites. We bicker amongst ourselves enough without letting troublesome rabblerousers off the leash. In an ideal world, people could discuss things in a calm and rational manner, but when have we ever lived in an ideal world?

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On 3/25/2019 at 8:04 AM, Still Alive said:

When I moved from Seattle (home for 46 years) to south central rural Kentucky, it was definitely a church culture shock. To make it more "shocking", I joined a Southern Gospel band that toured a LOT of these under 100 member churches. I was in it for two years and ate a lot of potluck. :)

But I noticed a common theme. The preachers were doing it, basically, for free, and there were a lot of sermons preached that obviously had no preparation. Further, there was a lot of "hell and damnation" preaching - something oddly missing from the book of Acts, from which we should be getting our marching orders. 

And there were often a group of 5 or so men sitting close to the front that did a lot of "amen" and "preach it brother" callouts. One time the preacher even made reference to Satan winning and they said, "amen". I kid you not.

The people in these churches seemed to be a seriously emotionally beaten down lot that were more focused on working their way to heaven and the prevailing tempearature of hell than the actual GOOD NEWS (gospel). And some of those preachers were hopelessly ignorant, and yet preached every misguided message in a spirit of "only the lost disagree with me". 

Frankly, I thought a lot of those churches needed to shut down. I had to leave the band because I could no longer be silent about the teaching I was hearing - and I had a hot mic in front of me and finally used it. It was a simple thing, really, but I told the band leader that that was only the beginning and that I could be silent no more. We both thought it was probably best that I leave the band.

Well said brother. A lot of churchs don't preach good news. They preach you better get to work if you don't want to go to hell. Are you attending a church ?

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On 3/26/2019 at 4:06 PM, Omegaman 3.0 said:

Perhaps a bit off topic from the OP, but some thoughts.

It is hard for a small church to grow. Typically, a small church, has limited ability to minister to large gatherings, no ROOM to grow, and limited size usually correlates to limited financial support. If it has a lot to offer. and the people are out there letting others know about it, it will grow more. More to the point, if it is God's will that it grow, it WILL grow. Often, it is man's will that wants growth.

I think God is very concerned about church growth (the universal, world wild church), but perhaps not always as interested in the growth of any specific congregational growth.

I have attended 5 churches in the last 40 years, they have all grown, and exceeded their physical capacities. Some churches do nothing to expand, being satisfied to stay the same. The churches i attended, some fell into that category, others, added more services, as many as 7 a week, in order to get beyond limited resources. 

The largest church I attended, grew to about 3000 members, and had to expand the facilities several times as well as the number of services, to accommodate that. However, they did something there, that was something I like very much. This technique, I mention because it can explain a reason why some churches do not grow - they grew by expanding outward. That church, invested in training pastors from within their congregation, and then helped them to start up additional congregations, world wide eventually. From this one congregation, there came daughter church, and grandaughter churches, etc. until today, there are over 3000 of these churches. If you looked at the first church, you would see that it is no longer growing, but what you do not see, is that it has not stopped growing in terms of the growth of God's church, all beleivers. The stats of an individual congregation, can be misleading.

Anyway, from this anecdotal evidence, I am not all that certain, how big a problem of church growth really exists. Small churches might be a bit like small businesses, nost of them appear to fail. When a small business fails, that does not mean that there are no customers, it only means the customers are elsewhere, moved on to something more suitable for them.

Sounds like Calvery Chapel. 

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On 3/25/2019 at 1:02 PM, Neighbor said:

To paraphrase: Ask not what your local body of Christ Jesus can do for you. Ask what you are to be doing now as a willing bondservant of Christ Jesus within His local body the church near you.

 

 

It works both ways. In Acts if anyone had a need the church helped them. 

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