Dying Churches

Dying Churches

Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 2 Corinthians 11:28 and 29

Churches die for many reasons. Sometimes they are the victims of ungodly people. But sometimes, they perpetrate ungodliness themselves.

When I was kid, I knew of a wonderful little church that was thriving from the first day their doors were opened. The Word was being preached. People reached out to other people. They were growing fast and it was a fantastic community. But there were a few unscrupulous people in leadership that forced the church to close because it was not yet making the kind of profit they wanted. This sweet church was a victim.

I’ve also seen churches that make victims of its parishioners. How does that look? Members of the congregation give sacrificially on Sunday only to be told that their giving isn’t good enough. The leadership is overly ambitious and pours out guilt when their agendas aren’t funded fast enough. I’ve also seen churches turn into a community center where the name of Jesus is used solely for the purpose of social work. Feeding the flock takes a backseat to respectability in the community.

What I’ve learned is this: If people are leaving a church, which in and of itself does not cause the death of the church, it is usually a symptom of a bigger systemic problem. What is true for the spiritual health of one Christian is also true for a large body of believers. Churches must continually look at themselves in the mirror of the Word to assess its spiritual health, just as we do on a personal level. One that doesn’t seek God indulges in the sins of pride and self-deception. They’ll bend toward making excuses for themselves, blaming people for leaving. A healthy church is one where the Word is being taught, God is being proclaimed, sin is being rooted out, and church discipline is being practiced. If leadership is spiritually irresponsible, then people cannot be expected to stay unless God has called them to be a part of a solution.

This is one of those messages that while it is easy to write, it is not easy to send. These are tough words and it breaks my heart that God is asking me to communicate these things.If you are part of a church that is dying, you may be afraid to make waves. Christians are supposed to be nice. Right? The surprising answer is ‘no’. God calls His children to speak the truth in love when He prompts. It is not loving to let congregations and its people fall into a pit. Paul could be tender but he could also be tough when called upon. He knew that tough love was the only way to get through to hard heads and hard hearts. If you are in this situation, fast and pray with other believers. God will give you the answer.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, Help me to grieve what You grieve. Help me see how You’re hurting because Your family is hungering in vain for Your life-saving Word. Show me what, and how, to pray. I’ll be Your voice by Your grace. In Jesus Precious Name, Amen

Journal
Read 2 Corinthians 11
What is Paul’s tone with the church?
According to verse 3, what led the church astray?
Read Jude 23-Is Paul trying to “snatch the church from the fire?”
Under what conditions should we leave a church? Or stay?

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