Decline in churches

DFisher

Eight Pointer
Not all churches are seeing a decline. Ours is growing and are fixing to expand. Ee don't talk about tithing much. Like every church, a few do, but most don't. Can't force people to give money.

And i truly believe we need to be in church, hypocrites or not. We need to share our relationship with like-minded people in order to grow our relationship with christ and others. That doesn't work as well when you are by yourself.
 

41magfan

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
I would like to think this goes without saying;

Church numbers (on the books or in the pews) in and of itself means very little. There are a number of good and bad reasons why a church can experience growth or just the opposite with a diminishing congregation. Some churches grow because they're accommodating and "inclusive" (of Lesbians & Homosexuals, for example) even if it violates Biblical teaching. I attended a VERY large and popular church a few times where the Bible was seldom cracked or hardly quoted by the Pastor.

In contrast, I suspect most churches are in decline because they're spiritually dead. I know that's what I've experienced most of my adult life. I once knew a gifted and Godly man (RIP) whose comment summarizes what is too often the case these days; "Most Pastors in the pulpit these days are Momma called and Daddy sent ..."

I'm afraid there isn't much going to happen (for the Kingdom or the Body of believers) when this unfortunate truth applies to church leadership.
 
Last edited:

DFisher

Eight Pointer
Churches can grow for the right reasons. While ours is, and not by accepting today's acceptances, and by preaching and teaching the Bible, I pray the Lord not let us mess this up!
 

41magfan

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
Thought this might be relevant to the disco.

Many of the points she raised are relevant because it highlights the crux of the matter; people want God in a box (their box) or not at all.

All religions (and far too many so called Christian denominations) are nothing but at attempt to experience God on conditional terms contrived to suit the individual.

The absolute truth about anything is - by its very nature - exclusive, and I'm afraid that leaves no room for subjective beliefs or inclusiveness for its own sake.

True Christianity is about having a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. He made us that way so we would all have the capacity (through His grace) to recognize the truth when exposed to it. Religion (which is nothing but man-made traditions fueled by self-effort) will never have the capacity to fill the void that only God can fill.

If you want to do it YOUR WAY, pick any "religion" you like ..... they're all the same and will lead you to the same end.
 

rrednek

Spike
Many of the points she raised are relevant because it highlights the crux of the matter; people want God in a box (their box) or not at all.

All religions (and far too many so called Christian denominations) are nothing but at attempt to experience God on conditional terms contrived to suit the individual.

The absolute truth about anything is - by its very nature - exclusive, and I'm afraid that leaves no room for subjective beliefs or inclusiveness for its own sake.

True Christianity is about having a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. He made us that way so we would all have the capacity (through His grace) to recognize the truth when exposed to it. Religion (which is nothing but man-made traditions fueled by self-effort) will never have the capacity to fill the void that only God can fill.

If you want to do it YOUR WAY, pick any "religion" you like ..... they're all the same and will lead you to the same end.
What did Paul mean when he said that he became all things to all men?

1 Corinthians 9:19: “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”

What did Paul mean that he became all things to all men for evangelism? This is his summation after he describes his goal and those people whom he wanted to reach.
He adapted his teaching to their thought in their culture to reach them. He divides the world into the religious with the law, (Jews) and the Gentiles, without the law.
 

nhn2a

Ten Pointer
Our pastor recently said there are approximately 6000 churches that close every year her in the US. Seemed shocking to me but makes me wonder how many are created each year also.
 

pattersonj11

Old Mossy Horns
My wife and I have been visiting different churches for a couple of years now. We have not made any single church a home. We still have our membership at our churches before we were married. We tithe at the different churches we are attending.

We have not found one that we really like. It’s very similar to politics. Some are very progressive and others have been very conservative.

The one we have attended most has a Thursday night service. That has really been helpful.
 

Shaggy

Old Mossy Horns
My wife and I have been visiting different churches for a couple of years now. We have not made any single church a home. We still have our membership at our churches before we were married. We tithe at the different churches we are attending.

We have not found one that we really like. It’s very similar to politics. Some are very progressive and others have been very conservative.

The one we have attended most has a Thursday night service. That has really been helpful.
Some very good friends of mine were going to covenant in greenville. They attended there for 15 years but left because it got to the point all they ever did was ask for money for something.

They started a new church and on their second visit the preacher had been removed. Turns out he was having an affair with another member of the church.

They no longer have a church. She does bible studies and her kids and husband do when they can. They didnt need a church to have a relationship with god. I think that is also happening more and more.
 

nontypical

Ten Pointer
We can get on this forum and give testimony, we can get on other news outlets and give testimony in the comments section. 1 hour per week sitting in a pew is great but we need to do more. Read some of the comments on fox news anytime God or Jesus is mentioned. I didn’t realize how many atheists were out there. They ain’t afraid to voice their opinions. We believers need to be louder.
 

NWNCmike

Eight Pointer
that's OK,,,,,Islam is growing at a rate twice as fast as the population is growing so they are picking up the slack and will likely surpass Christianity as the worlds largest religion by 2050,,,
I don't know where you get your statistics. Christianity is growing faster than Islam in Africa. In an Islamic country most people in the country are considered Muslim whether they worship or not, it is a state religion. Islam keeps it foot on the throat of those born in "Islamic Republics." Christianity is growing in China, even in North Korea, where Believers worship in secret. Is is true that attendance in mainline Christian denominations in the USA has declined. But according to a PEW report 65% of Americans identify as Christian, whether they regularly attend church is another question. In the same poll 3.1% of Americans identified as Atheists., with Agnostics roughly the same percentage.
 

Downeast

Twelve Pointer
Another reason that has been explored as to why men, especially, have been turned off by church is because the church has become "feminized". Jesus was a carpenter and surrounded himself with, dare I say it...commercial fisherman! These were rough, "manly" men. How many preachers do you know that hunt, fish, know how to build stuff, garden, etc? Most are soft , pudgy and would end up with blisters after 5 minutes with a hammer. Men respect and will follow another manly man much quicker. Women have also taken over most of the traditionally male roles in the church and have "soften" them. One of the reasons that Islam is so popular, especially to men, is that it is male dominated.
Maybe if more preachers would get out and get a job they would garner more respect. When I think of preachers in the broad sense I'm reminded of vultures and hyenas. They always seem to follow the sick, the lame, the dying, the families and individuals in stress, looking for that easy meal. A friend of mine passed a few years back and we all gathered afterwards for a meal and to relive some stories of his life when the preacher showed up and asked the widow's sons when he could get his "offering" for saying a few words at the graveside. They were most likely still shoveling dirt in the grave but he could care less. He was hungry for that almighty dollar. If he had any dignity or self respect he should have at least waited till the next morning.
 

Triggermortis

Ten Pointer
Maybe if more preachers would get out and get a job they would garner more respect. When I think of preachers in the broad sense I'm reminded of vultures and hyenas. They always seem to follow the sick, the lame, the dying, the families and individuals in stress, looking for that easy meal. A friend of mine passed a few years back and we all gathered afterwards for a meal and to relive some stories of his life when the preacher showed up and asked the widow's sons when he could get his "offering" for saying a few words at the graveside. They were most likely still shoveling dirt in the grave but he could care less. He was hungry for that almighty dollar. If he had any dignity or self respect he should have at least waited till the next morning.
No, the decline in churches is not solely related to some people's distaste for pastors. Since you obviously seem to be against most things spiritual, why don't you pick up a Bible , read and study it, and see what it says? Everyone will be accountable.
Scripture will be truthful with its assessment of everyone.
 

bag12day

Six Pointer
Contributor
I’m not buying that story. And in their defense, “pastors” jobs are to visit the sick, the lame, and the dying, and to comfort and reassure individuals in stress. The fact that you don’t know the difference in a pastor and a preacher says a lot about your understanding of things.
So I find the money chasing story a bit questionable too but I think the bolded statement may be a little disingenuous; however, I want you to explain it to me. Full disclosure as a Catholic I always thought it was the same thing like a Priest, Pastor, Father, or Reverend always refereed to the same "position". Never heard a priest referred to as a preacher though.
I went to my granddaughters baptism today at a United Methodist church and was helping an older lady up the stairs and she understood I was a visitor. She referenced the nice young preacher they were lucky to have and how much they missed their old preacher but needed someone young to relate to the kids (my son and his wife joined the church today too). She didn't say pastor she used preacher twice.
Where I grew up in Eastern Wake county we were the only Catholic family around but I worked for several different guys priming tobacco all of whom were Southern Baptists attending the local church. This Southern Baptist church was also where my scout troop was located. None of the farmers were hunters so when the new preacher was hired in the late 70s I was asked to show Reverend Boone where he could find some quail. I became the de facto guide for him because I knew all the farms and being a deer rabbit, squirrel hunter i also knew where the quail lived. He had 1 of the best trained beautiful bird dogs I have ever seen. He would tell folks himself he was the new preacher in town when we stopped at the store for a mid day Pepsi. He was a fine man and I hunted many a Saturday or days after school with him cause he didn't want to hunt alone. So why pray tell would he refer to himself as a preacher instead of a pastor (he BTW had a masters in Theology iirc) and was there for 25 years? I cried at his funeral last year he had such a profound impact on my life as a preacher or pastor.
Not trying to be argumentative but genuinely curious...
 

Eric Revo

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
My Dad was a minister, traveling preacher, but rarely took on the title of pastor since he did not like the additional trappings that most church bodies place on their pastor.
He avoided the fiscal and administrative roles that a pastor typically is tasked with, but he was always working as an interim minister and only had two full time " pastor" jobs during my years at home.
 

Soilman

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Bag12. "Preacher" is just an old, traditional, and for lack of a better word, slang, southern country term for "Pastor". Way back, many rural churches didn't have a dedicated pastor. He was shared by a number of different churches and likely only made it around to any one church once or twice a month. That didn't leave much time for "pastoring'...just preaching. Therefore, "preacher" became a common term that is still used today, even though "pastor" is probably the more appropriate term.
 

Winnie 70

Ten Pointer
If you don't want to be among his people down here, how you going to be among his people up there....something to ponder.
 

JoeSam1975

Ten Pointer
Contributor
Maybe if more preachers would get out and get a job they would garner more respect. When I think of preachers in the broad sense I'm reminded of vultures and hyenas. They always seem to follow the sick, the lame, the dying, the families and individuals in stress, looking for that easy meal. A friend of mine passed a few years back and we all gathered afterwards for a meal and to relive some stories of his life when the preacher showed up and asked the widow's sons when he could get his "offering" for saying a few words at the graveside. They were most likely still shoveling dirt in the grave but he could care less. He was hungry for that almighty dollar. If he had any dignity or self respect he should have at least waited till the next morning.
Judging all pastors like you did is like judging
Hunters based on one hunting accident where a hunter did something wrong.

Case in point I know a pastor that probably would work circles around you when he was alive. I have watched him help people in his churches build hog houses, crop tobacco, plumb their house, cut firewood for them among MANY other things and not charge a dime. He never charged for a funeral or for performing a wedding. He never complained about the 2 in the morning phone calls that someone was sick, had passed way, was in a car accident, had committed suicide. Most outside church people have no idea how much a true pastor does. I watched him void checks when a struggling church tried to pay him for speaking. Every church he pastored, in Creswell, Ayden, Pinetops, Pink Hill and Rocky Mount grew tremendously while he was pastoring their. One evened offered to double his Salary so he would stay and he said no. The man was my dad and unfortunately he unexpectedly was killed in an accident and is no longer with us.
 

Soilman

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I agree with JoeSam. Most folks have NO idea how much time and effort many pastors puts in. In my last church, I was a deacon, usher chairman, youth board member, finance board member, Sunday school teacher, and men' group leader...all at the same time. It about wore me out! Our pastor was not only on ALL those same boards/committees, but all the rest of the boards and committees as well....PLUS he worked another full time job installing swimming pools. I haven't even got around to his "job" of preaching or all the extra things he did building and constructing stuff for the church.
 

firedawg60

Ten Pointer
A couple of preachers have said it takes about 15-20 hours just to prepare for a sermon, in addition to all the other stuff.
 

JONOV

Twelve Pointer
So I find the money chasing story a bit questionable too but I think the bolded statement may be a little disingenuous; however, I want you to explain it to me. Full disclosure as a Catholic I always thought it was the same thing like a Priest, Pastor, Father, or Reverend always refereed to the same "position". Never heard a priest referred to as a preacher though.

Not trying to be argumentative but genuinely curious...
In the Catholic Church they aren't the same thing either (Priest, Pastor, Father, Reverend...) A Priest is ordained and required to hear confessions, say mass, or anoint the sick. A Pastor is in charge of a specific congregation/church. Parishes generally have a Pastor; just like most other Christian Denominations, in Catholic Parishes the Pastor is a Priest. So, "Pastor" refers to the leader of a specific congregation, be it St. Luke's Catholic Church or First Presbyterian Church of Pleasantville or Bay Leaf Baptist Church.

But I've known Priest's that were school Principals, Professors, Firefighters, a Dairy Farmer, a Navy Chaplain...Except fr the Naval Chaplain, all were members of religious orders but they were priests that could and did say mass, but didn't administer a parish.

Priests are addressed as "Father." Like many other Christian denominations they are also addressed "the Reverend..." or "Reverend," though that's more common in written form and in some protestant denominations refers to an Ordained minister that isn't the Pastor. IE, my wife and I were married by Reverend XYZ, who was not the head pastor at her Church but was an ordained Presbyterian minister.
 

NWNCmike

Eight Pointer
Speaking of PEW reports

And speaking of the "worlds fastest growing religion."
"First, it is untrue that Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion. (Mormonism and Scientology also claim this, but few outside of Salt Lake City and Hollywood believe it.) As Philip Jenkins of Penn State University demonstrates in his work Christianity—in particular Pentecostalism—is the world’s most-rapidly growing faith. Currently there are 2 billion Christians and 1.3 billion Muslims (out of a world population of 6 billion), and in the 21st century Christianity will maintain its lead, thanks to explosive growth in sub-Saharan Africa and China."
And I will add, I know of no modern country where people are FORCED to attend church. Not true with Islam.
 
From a 24 year olds perspective, I tend to think about this in two separate ways.
1) YES Islam and other “cooler” religions are taking its place ...
But also
2) It’s so easy to just log on to any churches Virtual Worship and just watch from home. You can view it on Facebook even, so a lot of folks are in church but not “in” church anymore.
Over 80% of the other self proclaimed Christians at my college do this for their “church services” and I’m sure that a lot of their friends do it to - so that % only gets exponential by the numbers I’m sure.
 
Top