Blog: Max Dawson
December 15, 2016
I am not really happy with the title of today’s Thursday Thoughts. Why not? Well, it is because the issue is not just about church attendance, but rather about worship. Maybe I should have entitled it “Worshipers in America are Declining in Number.”
So, I am not particularly happy with the title–but it does express something relevant that folks can understand. More importantly, I am not happy with what it represents. Church attendance is on the decline. Among the Baptists, Catholics, Methodists. It is on the decline in many Churches of Christ. I don’t like it, but that is the trend. It is part of the current situation in America.
Why is it happening? Here are five reasons that may answer that question.
1. “Cultural” Christians no longer see the need to “go to church.” Traditionally, business people needed to be part of a church in order to have influence in the community. Now, nobody seems to care one way or the other. Those folks quit!
2. Expectations are very low for church members. Church leaders don’t require much of themselves or expect much from their folks. So they don’t get much.
3. Active church members don’t see the need to gather for worship the way they once did. “Active” members used to show up three times a week. Now, it may be three times a month. Maybe that is because people tend to direct their own spirituality, rather than following church leaders–individualism. Maybe part of that is because some folks get their spiritual feeding on the internet. “Who needs to attend church when I can get all the spiritual stuff I want online?”
4. Failure to connect with other church members. When Christians build very strong relationships within the church, they tend to stay for life. When they build very strong relationships outside the church (and none within), they don’t last. Assimilation into the local church is critical for the survival of the Christian and for the church itself. But again, folks love their independence and individuality.
5. Christians and churches have become “self-focused.” Members are easily upset when things don’t go as they want. They don’t like the sermons, the decisions of the elders, or the new carpet. “After all, if they did just things the way I think they should be, it would be a great church.” Some Christians are more concerned about the temperature of the building than about the fact that their neighbors are going to hell! If they don’t like the way things are going at church, they may quit, move to another church, or just attend less. “It’s all about pleasing me.”


Maybe I should call today’s piece, “Max’s Thursday Rant.” Go ahead and make fun of me if you want. But, I just want to say that it is disturbing what is happening in our churches. Yes, I know there are exceptions, and that some congregations are doing well–growing and prospering. Many are not.
It is time for folks to wake up and remember that being part of a local church is a great blessing. The church is part of God’s plan for our lives (). It was the Lord’s idea to establish a church–not ours ().
It is likely that all five of the things mentioned in the block above would fit under a heading called, “Spiritual Weakness.” What do you think? Can we do better?
Blessings to you, my spiritually-minded friends,

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