Decline in churches

Helium

Twelve Pointer
Interesting points of view from everyone... as an ordained minister who served vocationally (some full time some bivocational) for 14years... been out vocationally for almost 5 years now

I will try to not to take the ministers are fat Sissies comment to personally (Lol.. although many are).

Anyway, on another note I hope all agree that as many have stated ... just because membership #s use to be stronger doesn’t mean it was a success.

In fact, if you will recall Christianity has done nothing but multiplied since it’s inception... so why then if American “churches” were filled with so many believers years ago have we not multiplied but have subtracted??

Food for thought... because wolves among the sheep devour sheep whereas sheep multiply and make more sheep.
 

Shaggy

Old Mossy Horns
Atheism is on the rise and believing in a higher power is declining is probably a part of it as well.
 

nontypical

Ten Pointer
Maybe we can all chip in and get Clint Eastwood to read God’s word to us. He’s pretty tough right.

On a serious note, it’s in my opinion that the pastor of a church should be the most humble person in attendance. He should know better than anyone God’s mercy and grace. I don’t really care whether he is a tough manly man or not.

Tough to me is someone with all the power you could imagine, willingly sacrificing themselves for mankind.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
Humble is a word I cringe at. I believe it may have been skewed during translation.

If we are all to be humble, then we are all to be poor.

If we are all to act humble, then some folks would have to lie about it.

I would love to find a good sermon explaining this.

I have had two bosses in the past that made it a goal to remind everyone to be humble and wanted a humble impression of the company to be shown. I don’t strive for arrogance, but I don’t like pretending to be something I am not.
 

nontypical

Ten Pointer
No better role model for being humble and having humility than Jesus.

In other words give God all the glory and you want none of it. God says many many times that he is a jealous God.

Do you want to be the person that takes all the credit for what you’ve got or do you acknowledge that God the father straightened out the crooked paths for you even though you know you didn’t deserve it.
 
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pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
I don’t want to take credit for anything I’ve got. It could have not happened or easily be taken away. I know this as well as anyone.

As spoken before, the common definition of humble has strayed. Maybe the definition has widened over time.
 

41magfan

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Humility is the opposite of pride, and the Bible has a lot to say about it (pride) and none of it is good.

I think it's important to remember that being humble is not in our nature and that genuine and lasting humility can only be cultivated by a steady and continuous acceptance of God's grace.

Pride is also our greatest stumbling block when it comes to relationships ..... all of them, both vertical and horizontal.

I can tell you from personal experience that being humble is less painful that being humbled.
 
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Roanoke

Six Pointer
Lots of SB churches have contention and a self righteous membership. Have you heard about the guy that looked like a homeless person and entered a large SB church? No one spoke to him and a few shunned him. When they called up the guest speaker he stepped onto the pulpit and began preaching. People need to remember that church is for the sinner. Jesus visited prostitutes, lepers and tax collectors, the most looked down people of that time.


Churches need to concentrate on being biblically not politically correct. You can not cherry pick the parts of scripture you want to believe. Look at what has happened to our country since 1964. ( Engel v/s Vitale).
Main reason why our churches are declining is because people are not biblically educated and no longer fear God.
 
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woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
Lots of SB churches have contention and a self righteous membership. Heard about the guy that looked like a homeless person and entered a large SB church. No one spoke to him and a few shunned him. When they called up the guest speaker he stepped onto the pulpit and began preaching. People need to remember that church is for the sinner. Jesus visited prostitutes, lepers and tax collectors, the most looked down people of that time.


Churches need to concentrate on being biblically not politically correct. You can not cherry pick the parts of scripture you want to believe. Look at what has happened to our country since 1964. ( Engel v/s Vitale).
Main reason why our churches are declining is because people are not biblically educated and no longer fear God.
Here here ?

Earlier I posted that johnny paycheck song that relates to that concept

Its not about how you look,,,its wbout how you think and act
 

JoeR

Six Pointer
A one time aisle walk that is followed by no life change and no real commitment swells the rolls on earth but not in heaven. From my earliest days I have seen this, and always wondered why churches didnt purge the rolls periodically. It usually had something to do with burial plots and hurting someones feelings in the church who were a relative of the one being considered to purge.
Definitely not trying to start a fight here. This statement leaves me wondering though.
In what way would it benefit a church to purge their membership? What would the qualifiers be?
Would it have to be something like committing an egregious legal or moral crime or simply not worshiping the same way as the average member? I'd assume the first, and agree with it, but that doesn't sound like that's what you're saying.
I'm wondering if there is a side to it that I'm not seeing.

Joe
 

Soilman

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I think what Triggermortis is trying to say is, there are folks who walk down the isle to accept Christ, and that is the end of their commitment. Some of them, you never, or rarely see again. It makes "regulars" wonder if it was all for show. I try not to question someone else's salvation too much, because I may not understand all the circumstances, but it does make you wonder.
It IS a good idea to occasionally go through the church roles. We did it at my former church. We had a LOT of folks that over the years, had moved far away, or had joined other churches and didn't notify us. We did our best to contact them to see if we could remove them or not.
 

Triggermortis

Ten Pointer
Definitely not trying to start a fight here. This statement leaves me wondering though.
In what way would it benefit a church to purge their membership? What would the qualifiers be?
Would it have to be something like committing an egregious legal or moral crime or simply not worshiping the same way as the average member? I'd assume the first, and agree with it, but that doesn't sound like that's what you're saying.
I'm wondering if there is a side to it that I'm not seeing.

Joe
Sticking with the article, the membership numbers that have declined from over 16 million to under 15 million are just that - membership numbers. In SBC churches, most will count you as a member if you come forward and get baptized a few weeks later. Three different churches that I was a member of practiced things this same way, and countless people who took these steps attended for a few weeks and eventually stopped coming all together. It's what I meant by the difference between the visible and the invisible church.

I posted this article for consumption, not for criticism of SBC churches, but to get people to look at some of the changing demographics that would account for the decline. It does mirror an obvious trend in the US, a move to a more secular mindset.
 

JoeR

Six Pointer
It IS a good idea to occasionally go through the church roles. We did it at my former church. We had a LOT of folks that over the years, had moved far away, or had joined other churches and didn't notify us. We did our best to contact them to see if we could remove them or not.
This is exactly what I was asking, and a perfectly good reason to do such a thing. I had never considered it.

Joe
 

sky hawk

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
There are a lot of different things going on with those numbers. The fact that the SBC has declined ONLY 8% should be the headline. And I disagree slightly with some of what Mohler says there.

As stated, this is the secularization of America. It is the end of Cultural Christianity. We all know that a decent percentage of churchgoers in the past were there for social reasons. As he points out in the article, it is no longer socially beneficial to attend church. We have tipped over that point, to a reality where in most areas, it will cost you social capital. Just one example: As recently as 2008, it was beneficial for our Presidential candidates to claim Christianity. Obama did. So did those before him. Fast forward a few years, and our VP's wife is being criticized harshly for simply working at a Christian school. In the 2020 election, no one will be espousing their evangelical Christianity, and if one does, they will certainly be penalized for it.

I suspect based on the statistics (50% decline in attendance among mainline protestant churches) the SBC has actually been absorbing members from other denominations who have turned sharply away from the integrity of scripture. All the while, they are still losing a significant portion of the millennial generation and those who previously found it culturally expedient. I expect those declines to continue.

There are so many different changes happening at the same time. Many of the small protestant churches of all denominations have done a poor job of developing younger generations for a variety of reasons, mostly their own fault. Churches will continue to close at a faster rate as older members, the only ones left, die off. The younger generations of genuine believers are already consolidating in large churches whose worship looks vastly different than the those in small rural areas.

Honestly, the focus on numbers is part of the reason for the decline. Shallow, attraction-modeled churches (think mega-church boom) do not produce lives of deep faith in the next generation. Focus on the gospel and let the numbers be what they will be. What is not mentioned is the side benefit of a church full of Christ-followers who are there in spite of the cost. Sacrifices of time, money, energy, and social/political capital. I look at it as a great consolidation of The Church. And THAT is a unified force that can accomplish it's mission.
 

Triggermortis

Ten Pointer
Those are some good observations skyhawk. I think the numbers would be somewhat worse if not for 2 significant occurrences.

1 - The departure of the more liberal churches in the convention to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This group is noticeably more watered down in terms of the claims of the gospel. This group is now considered mainline, in the same strata as the UMC and the PCUSA churches, all of which are struggling to reconcile the obvious claims of Scripture while trying to please the culture at the same time.

2 - The rise and return of a significant portion of SBC churches to reformed theology. There is a group that has stressed return to a more Calvinistic theology called the Founders Movement, and there is a significant number of churches within the convention who would be Founders-friendly. No small number of SBC seminary grads have been turned loose who are unabashedly reformed, and this will manifest itself in expository preaching, biblical church polity, and straightforwardness about how the Bible speaks to the issues of our culture.
 

Roanoke

Six Pointer
Seems like a good number of people coming out of Southeastern lean more towards Calvinism. There are much greater issues but some stay focused on this which is a great cause for contention. Very happy about the recent vote with the Methodist Church. Scripture is very clear and you can not cherry pick the parts you want to believe.
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
I'm personally convinced that denominations are (and will remain) to be Satan's most effective tool.
for a different thread,,,but that right there is the basis of my belief philosophy after looking into most of the worlds "religions",,,
 

sky hawk

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I'm personally convinced that denominations are (and will remain) to be Satan's most effective tool.
I don't feel that way, but I understand (partly) why some do. Rather, I believe it is necessary to break fellowship with people or churches who depart from the foundational truths of scripture. Denominational titles are simply descriptors that allow a person to quickly assess doctrine. As I survey the wide array of doctrinal beliefs of United States churches in 2019, I can't imagine all of them trying to function as a single body. It would have zero integrity. Like the NRA with members who believe in gun control or a hunting organization with PETA members.

Back to the OP, this is why I don't despair of the declining numbers. There is some true loss in the younger generations, but a lot of it is just a weeding out of those who attended for social reasons. And like the denominations who have veered sharply from biblical doctrine, they will simply fade away. I think over the next few decades, we might see a consolidation of believers and denominations who still hold to the truth of scripture. I think as outside persecution mounts, believers will become more unified, and fence sitters will disappear. It will be necessary for survival.

I was speaking with the founder of a mission organization to Africa and Asia this week, and he described this ongoing phenomenon. In a country where less than 1% are evangelical Christian, the denominations with solid doctrine work together closely. I believe this is the future for American Christians. It will happen in earnest in the decade after churches lose their 501c3 designation due to "hate speech".
 

JONOV

Twelve Pointer
Interesting points of view from everyone... as an ordained minister who served vocationally (some full time some bivocational) for 14years... been out vocationally for almost 5 years now

I will try to not to take the ministers are fat Sissies comment to personally (Lol.. although many are).

Anyway, on another note I hope all agree that as many have stated ... just because membership #s use to be stronger doesn’t mean it was a success.

In fact, if you will recall Christianity has done nothing but multiplied since it’s inception... so why then if American “churches” were filled with so many believers years ago have we not multiplied but have subtracted??

Food for thought... because wolves among the sheep devour sheep whereas sheep multiply and make more sheep.
Yes...I wonder in the past how much of the strong numbers used to be done for social capital. IE, for the same reason they join Rotary or whatever.

Two instances I can think of; a close friend's father was a 50% partner in a Store. His partner was a member of the dominant church in town in an area where it was a huge deal. His Dad was a member of a smaller church, that was frankly seen as medieval and wrong. Partner died and business shrunk by 50%.

The other thing is that Americans haven't multiplied themselves. They've added. Currently about 2.3 kids per house. You can't/won't bat 1000. If I look at my parents/in-laws they both came from families of 4, 4, 5 and 6. Hard to say exactly, since I don't know my in-laws extremely well, but I'd say about half to 60% ended up as churchgoers in adulthood. So if you take a sampling of five families in a congregation, and think you'll probably have 12 kids between them, you might end up with 7...But you started with 10 (parents.)
 

Mr.Gadget

Old Mossy Horns
Wonder how many churches will have members dropping over the next few weeks do to the shootings?
I know I left 2 churches do to their anti gun and leftest views in the past..
Wife still goes but I about give up hope to find a church that would stay out of political stuff.
 

41magfan

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
for a different thread,,,but that right there is the basis of my belief philosophy after looking into most of the worlds "religions",,,
Unfortunately, most denominations have turned into their own brand of "religion" ..... and therein lies the problem. They squabble over things that don't really matter (matters that are either not biblical or not clearly stated) and in most cases, they're all still wrong.
 

Triggermortis

Ten Pointer
If you are interested in some statistics and commentary on church attendance and birth rate, scroll down to the transcript and read the 1st two sections.
 

302cj

Twelve Pointer
Our attendance has dropped but it’s normal summer vacations. I think he said 800 members a few weeks ago and only about 350 active. We are like others here at having a lot of the older people.
 

Soilman

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I see denominations as mainly just different styles of worship. None are wrong, until they deviate from a biblical basis.
As far as anti-gun, at my previous church, not only did the pastor encourage anyone who wanted to CCW, but he did it himself. Our church even sponsored a CCW class!
 

Crappie_Hunter

Ten Pointer
Contributor
Good points by several on here so I'll just add this... read Jesus' letters to the 7 churches in Revelation. I think many of the rebukes he had for the 1st century church apply today. These letters should definitely be a guide for how the church body should operate, and a warning to those that don't.
 
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