WHY AMERICA’S CHURCHES ARE AT A TIPPING POINT
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WHY AMERICA’S CHURCHES ARE AT A TIPPING POINT
Father, continue to shape Your Church as You want it to be. God loves His Church! What is your prayer for the Church in America? Share it by leaving a comment below.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
(1 Cor 14:33)
“Tipping Point (noun): the critical point in a situation, process or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.”
If current trajectories continue, American churches will pass a tipping point. Our congregations will begin a likely unstoppable path toward decline that will rival many European churches of the past century. If there is not a significant movement of revitalization, there will be an accelerated rate of decline and death.
The good news is that many leaders are not denying this reality. They are seeking God and responding obediently. Church revitalization has become a real and powerful theme. As I indicated in my book, Scrappy Church, more and more churches are moving in incredible and positive directions.
How will God move in our churches? How will we respond? While I will not address those two paramount questions in this particular article, I do want us to see the three specific areas of the tipping point: theological, attitudinal and actionable.
The Theological Tipping Point
If a church does not have a solid biblical and theological foundation, all other issues are moot. In some congregations, there is slippage on the doctrine of exclusivity, the biblical truth that Christ is the only way of salvation (John 14:6). In other congregations, leaders and members are questioning the absolute authority of Scripture. That issue is as old as creation when the serpent questioned God’s Word, “Did God really say . . .?” (Gen. 3:1b, NIV).
We can’t even begin to deal with other tipping points until we have resolved the issues of truth and fidelity to Scripture. The slippery slope of questioning God’s authority leads to the decline and death of churches.
The Attitudinal Tipping Point
At some point in the recent history of the church, particularly North American churches, becoming a part of a local congregation became a consumer-driven activity. Too many church members want, even demand, their own preferences and desires. In some congregations, we are more likely to hear a member fight over his or her own worship style preference than ask how he or she might truly serve the body of Christ.
Read 1 Corinthians 12. Becoming a member of the body of Christ means we serve others for the greater good of the body. The needs of others come before our preferences and desires. Paul admonished the local congregation in Philippi: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). That doesn’t sound like some of our church business meetings.
The Actionable Tipping Point
There are many presumably Bible-believing churches that like the idea of evangelism more than doing evangelism. Frankly, I deal with evangelical church leaders and members every day who profess unwavering fidelity to Scripture but haven’t intentionally had a gospel conversation in recent memory.
We are so busy with church activities that we neglect active obedience of the Great Commission. We can be passionate about the placement of the offertory in the worship service but never invite people to come to those worship services. We can complain when the pastor doesn’t visit members sufficiently but never visit the hurting and lost ourselves.
A church leader recently asked me why I thought his church was not growing. I asked him what his church did every single week to reach, invite and serve the community. His silence was his own answer. Many of us conservative Christians would rather fight each other than fight against the gates of hell.
It Is Time
Still, I am not discouraged. The tipping point is not inevitable. Our obedience may have waned, but God’s power has not. Many church leaders and members are recommitting themselves to a renewed and vibrant mission. Many of their churches are seeking and seeing revitalization.
There is indeed an incipient movement of scrappy churches. It is real. It is growing.
It is time.
With whatever years God gives me, with whatever breaths I have remaining to breathe, I ask God to use me in my church to serve Him and others with unwavering commitment.
And then, and only then, may I dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.” (Excerpts from article on CharismaNews – Thom s. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources.)
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There is a significant move within the body of Christ toward smaller, more accountable home church gatherings. Ecclesia is actually defined as a called out ‘assembly’; interestingly enough with a political connotation. King James actually perverted the meaning in commissioning a version of the Bible he would approve of. The western church has become something it was never intended to be, non the less; God loves the bride and is looking to have her press into the “Abiding’ and all that means. When each one comes together with their song, a word, an encouragement or new revelation from your own study, we all benefit/grow in all sharing. It won’t happen over night, but the goal is to have His body actively engaged, representing Him at work, school, the store, church, in government. Fortunately for us, no management of the multiple Tipping Points is required….”Be still and know…”
The Christian Union, which serves Ivy League campuses, is praying for revival and taking steps to see it come to pass: http://www.DayAndNight.org . Join us for a ten day fast in January!
Gayla Renton, I see there’s a Nazarene church in Broken Arrow. Unfortunately they don’t have an evening service, but maybe they’d be interested in starting an evening Bible study, especially if you offered to host. Nazarenes have never split over the authority of Scripture or the centrality of Christ. You’re always welcome to listen to our church’s sermons online: http://www.WestchesterChapel.org .
The lack of Evangelism is a symptom of the greater problem. We need to quit focusing on the leaders and their individual Sunday figures and make it our goal to “equip the saints into ministry work.” The equipping leaders are not the ones “in the ministry”. Every saint is in the ministry. That ministry is in the marketplace. We all have charismata that must be developed and deployed. The true ministry is 24/7 by ALL who are in Christ.
The early apostles devoted themselves to two things: prayer and teaching logos. Our leaders must put first priority on prayer, then their equipping work will flow. The enemies are in the Heavens, and we must battle there before seeing change on the Earth.
And our discipling efforts must be toward all “nations”, not just counting scalps. We must transform the USA first.
Anything short of this will bring “temporary relief,” but the real disease will not be cured.
Thankful for our Pastoral Staff at New Hope Abilene. Leadership who prays, obeys, teaches truth in a manner that nourishes life transformination as we hear and apply. Our God reigns, He is alive and Victorious! Many are being stirred to be THE Church, His bride. Abiding in Him, living abundantly despite natural circumstances. Oh His peace, joy, love endures through the generations! Testify of His amazing gracious mercy calling us to be His reflection in these times.
My husband and I sometimes think about starting a house church where we can promote supportive fellowship among believers by having a meal together and opportunities for focused prayer after studying the Word and having a quieter, more reflective style of worship. I have noise sensitivity that makes me feel stressed with the very loud worship at most local churches, plus I do not want to lose my hearing, so we watch the sermon at home and discuss it afterwards now. I know of others who do not attend church for this reason. It is physically painful for those of us wired this way. I fellowship now by attending a Bible study or small group or meeting my prayer partner. The only churches I know of in my area that are not too loud are not teaching biblical doctrine. I looked forward to church when I was younger and could attend a church that was a better fit in another state. I would often be one of the last people to leave because I would be praying with or encouraging someone after the service. Sometimes we would lunch together after church. Now church attendance seems like a duty or chore, and we have to wait for the worship to be over before we can go in which feels awkward. People do not stick around to fellowship so it works better for us to watch the church feed at home. Prayerlessness could be a primary issue in church decline as I have met few who value prayer.
There is a church that has service on Sunday evening as well as on Thursday evening. It is Oneta Holiness Church in Broken Arrow. Call 918.513.2259.
Church must represent heaven on the earth, let us look carefully about what the churches look like, white churches and black churches will not worship together. In heaven we will not have a white section and a black section, just one section the human race section. With this disease in the body of Christ we will not see miracles signs and wonders.
Churches support situations that does not line up with the word and the support is based on the color the person skin. God only cares about the human race. The word is the final authority and with that the love of God as the temperature which is needed to heat up the fire in the body of Christ through unity in prayer.
I BELIEVE THERE IS A NEED FOR REFORMATION IN THE WAY CHURCHES MEET. THEY ARE BAICALLY A LECTURE HALL WITH PASSIVE LISTENERS. WE NEED CHURCHES MODELED AFTER THE NEW TESTAMENT HOUSE CHURCHES WHERE EVERYONE PARTICIPATED. EVERYTHING IS CENTERED TODAY ON LISTENING TO THE PASTOR. THE PASTOR IS THE FOCAL POINT INSTEAD OF SHARED LEADERSHIP AND MEMBERS PARTICIPATING IN THE FELLOWSHIP. WE HAVE EARS, BUT NO MOUTHS! i HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING “PAGAN CHRISTIANITY” BY FRANK VIOLA AND EXAMINING WHY WE NEED TO REFORM THE WAY WE ‘DO’ CHURCH TODAY.
I am looking for a Bible based Church, no one has reached out to me, and rely on my Bible and pray alone. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. I have health issues every morning, I am looking for evening services, can you help me?
After over 50 years in the ministry, looking at churches through the “EYES OF JESUS” And a humble heart, the tipping point is whether or not the leaders of the church are concentrating on their own egos or the Power of the Holy Spirit through a Humble Heart.
Through visiting and observing many, many, many churches it is obvious whether or not the church is led by Human Ego or the Holy Spirit. That is the “Tipping Point”.
Hint: If the music is highlighted over God’s Word, a failure of the church is in the future. Nothing should hold precidance over God’ Word!