Churches in Decline

Fifty years ago, congregations of the Lord’s people were booming in metro Detroit. Large buildings, with capacities of up to 1,000, were regularly built, and filled.

As we sat at lunch with some brethren from one metro-area congregation, they mentioned that their building, built in 1968, had a capacity of 700. Current attendance is 60-65. They have twenty classrooms. None are in use. Most members sit in the front for worship, and visitors sit aloof in the back. The disheartening scene!

Nevertheless, filling the building should be the last concern of the church. Fulfilling Christ’s mission should be our concern (cf. Mt 28:18-20). We are to build relationships — seek souls. Buildings are secondary, at best.

I don’t know why these churches are declining, probably a variety of culprits, including Detroit’s economic woes. But it doesn’t matter. The church’s mission can’t change.

Suppose the coal industry were shut down tomorrow. It would change our congregation! But our mission must never change! May our presence in this community never be limited to just our meetinghouse, or our mission dampened by the economy! Will God accept the excuse, “But, the economy …,” for failing our mission? I think not!

Remember, the early church had no building, and many of them were poor (cf. Rom 15:26). And still, with God’s help, the early church overturned the world (cf. Acts 17:6).

Why should we be any different?

Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg KY bulletin

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