My life has been spent in the ministry. I was raised in the baptist church. Growing up, there was never a time when I was not in church. Today I thank God for that great heritage. I will be eternally grateful for the foundation I received as it is helpful to me even today. Though I am grateful for my foundation, I cannot agree with the current state of the church.
As we see it today, church attendance is at an all time low while distrust of ministry leaders is at an all time high. There are those who will blame it all on the current wickedness of society. Though society has strayed from God and the principles of His Word, it is not fully the reason for the empty churches. As unpopular as it may be in the fundamental circles as well as other denominations, the blame may also fall on the church itself.
1: Hatred for Those Who Are Different
As must as we hate to admit it, this is a problem with the church today. We have this mentality that if we can’t agree on everything 100% then we are not to fellowship or be friends with each other. Yes, we are a peculiar people according to Titus and we are a new creature according to Paul, but being separated from the sin of the world doesn’t mean that we are to not love others who happen to have a different view. We’ve become so separated that we’ve separated ourselves from current reality. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean that they should be avoided like a plague. There is a hatred and bitterness towards anyone with a different worship style. We tend to think that if anyone worships differently than we do, than they are compromising liberals unworthy of the grace of God. Our modern church has taken it to the point of developing a bitter hatred for anyone who disagrees with us on any subject, yet gripe when the church is empty on Sunday.
2: A Lack of Compassion
One of the biggest underlying causes of bitterness towards the church is due largely to a lack of compassion. I recently counseled with a young man whose wife was kicked out of the choir by their pastor and told she would have to give up her sunday school class because she was bald due to chemotherapy. I talked with a man the other day who, after several years of praying, finally got his brother to attend church with him. During the service the pastor asked if anyone had any other version than the KJV and the man’s brother had a NIV. The preacher rebuked the man from the pulpit and told him that God would judge him and his family because he was using the wrong bible. It’s only a miracle that these people are still in church at all! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to attend a church where I have to walk on eggshells the whole time I’m there. We can be witnesses without being jerks. We’re more interested in perfecting the saint than preaching the Christ. A ministry with no compassion is a ministry gone wrong.
3: Trying To Make a Sinner Act Like a Saint.
This has become common practice in Baptist circles. Again, this is due largely to a lack of compassion. The sinner doesn’t need to know how long their hard should be. They don’t need to know how to be faithful to the church. They don’t need to know what they should or should not be wearing or whether or not their lifestyle is sin. They need to hear that Jesus loves them, died for them, and wants to save them. Standing on a street corner somewhere holding a sign telling women to be keepers at home is doing no good for the cause of Christ. A sinner needs to hear about the love of God. Living right will not get them to Heaven, only trusting Jesus will. We tend to forget that in our mission to perfect the saints.
4: Preachers With A False Sense of Reality
NewsFlash: Not everybody has the wonderful privilege of being employed full time by the church. I was told recently that I should put my job on the back burner and trust God to meet my needs. That’s easy to say if you’re collecting a nice check from the church every week. Many preachers are sitting in their offices with a false sense of reality while looking down on their members. I’ve seen preachers recently rebuke a man from the pulpit because this man had to work on sunday. What is sad is if this man refused and lost his job, that same preacher would then rebuke him again for having to depend on foodstamps and welfare to support his family. As long as the preacher has a false sense of reality, the church will continue to be empty
If you want to see growth in the church, then quit pushing people away. Show some compassion. Reach people with the gospel instead of trying to perfect their lifestyle. The sad truth is that many churches are empty because of their own neglect. Get your focus on Christ and not the crowd