To begin this article I have to go back a few years to the question I was asked by a young man who was the lead singer in one of America’s most well-known “Christian Rock” bands. His group was making their rounds to various churches in the area and wanted to sing in one of our church services.
Coming to visit me he asked, “Pastor, do you like our style of music or what kind of music are you in to?”
I simply answered, “the only music worthy to be done in a worship service is that which is worthy to be done before the Throne of God.” I don’t think he really understood my meaning.
It’s evident that Christian America has forgotten that GOD is the central figure of our worship services.
A classic example was a recent Sunday when Judy and I drove a good distance to worship at a First Baptist church. I have known the pastor for several years and was looking forward to hearing him preach and – Boy, was I surprised. Disappointed is a better way to put it.
Somehow this church had morphed into a silly show of smoke machines, blue lights, a bad band and silly songs. When the pastor came to preach (communicate as they called it), here was this man in his late 50’s in blue jeans, untucked plaid shirt with sleeves rolled up and needing a shave.
Come-on I thought. Act your age – everybody knows you’re not cool! After his silly attempt to “communicate” about the books he had recently read, a few positive-living comments and a warm story about his family, he finally finished with a kind smile, a warm goodbye and we’ll see you next time.
How sweet and nice. No gospel challenge. No point of personal decision. No public invitation. Nothing! I went away thinking, what was that hour I spent all about? Why did I bother to come?
I have often told others that I fully understand why some people don’t go to church these days. After my 52 years of pastoring some of America’s great churches, it breaks my heart to see what’s become of the church in America.
Personally, I belong to the Southern Baptist Convention. I have served on numerous committees and boards of the Convention. I was the President of the Pastors Conference of the S.B.C. and have spoken at countless Conventions and Churches through the years. I love Southern Baptists.
But last year the Southern Baptist Convention lost 200,000 members, baptisms were down for another year and church attendance across the board has dropped as well for another year.*
Across the broad spectrum of denominational churches in America almost 340,000 have either plateaued or are in decline.*
But is there an answer to reverse the fall, to stop the leak and revive the church again? Indeed there is.
Why not return to the basics that built the American church to begin with.
Why not preach the Word of God, bring sinners face-to-face with their sins and tell them of the blood of Jesus Christ who can forgive them and wash them clean.
How about challenging the church members and training them to be soul-winners so their families and neighbors can find Christ.
Why not preach with authority about Heaven and Hell and challenge the listeners to “come to Christ” now!
Why not try to return dignity, respect and honor to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Evidently the statistics seem to prove that the Seeker Sensitive guests are not seeking what some folks think they are. Some of my fellow preachers and their churches better wake up to the truth.
Fog machines, blue jeans, blue lights and other flimsy tricks will never take the place of preaching the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the answer. Always has been, always will be. Just take time to look around and you will see it clearly – the declining churches are proving it.