There is a strange phenomenon going on in the churches of America. It is affecting all churches of all sizes and all denominations and that is that the attendance is dropping, as well as resources, influence and power. If it were only one denomination we might conclude it was because of a teaching or doctrine. If it were just the larger churches or just the smaller churches we might conclude it was because of resources. But it is affecting all churches which are causing church leaders to ask why is it happening. I have even heard that it is the fulfilling of the prophecy that times will wax worse and worse as we get closer to the end times. However, this process of degenerating has been going on for thousands of years already. No, this phenomenon is something else that has not yet been understood by the vast majority of the churches.
I remember before I became a Christian that it was hard to distinguish between the Christians and the non-believers. They all seemed to follow the same moral code and conduct. There was a general respect for the church member over the nonmember but little else. Later, after I became a Christian I became curious about not seeing God’s power working in the lives of the members and churches. I wondered why I didn’t see or hear much about God doing much in His people. Then the scandals of the tele-evangelist and the breakdown of our national morals followed, until today when we have been devastated by compromising many of our long held beliefs. Despair has become much more prevalent and there are all manner of “churches” sprouting up that claim that the long held truths that we have stood on for ages are no longer valid and were just for a time.
Lest I be understood to be saying that there is no hope and that everything is falling apart, I want to say that this is nothing new. It has happened many times before. If fact, every great revival of history began in such times as we are in today. Let me also say that this phenomenon is not worldwide, though it is found in several countries. Last year, I visited the underground church in another country and found an altogether different church. There it was illegal to publically share your faith and Christianity was declared as darkness by the government. Still, believers were so hungry for the gospel that they would travel up to two hours to a Bible Study; they would arrive 30-45 minutes early and quietly pray and read their bible; sit on a plastic child’s stool that didn’t even have a back, for nearly 3 hours without complaining or squirming around; take notes like a college student studying for an exam; stay for an hour or more in fellowship; and travel the up to two hours home. After they completed their work day they would return the following evening and each day thereafter. They weren’t tardy or missed opportunities but considered it an honor to be able to be there and were very grateful. I came home wanting to bring that back with me. Under these conditions the ratio of Christians was around 1in14 where here it is somewhere between 1in50 or 1in100
So we come back to the question of what is wrong in our churches in America. I have prayerfully considered this for a long time and remembered what my Father told me years ago, “ You can’t fix it until you know what is broke.” If we do not properly diagnose the problem we will just be treating the symptoms and will not see real change so I share with you what I believe is the real problem. We are in a crises of faith. With all of the books that are written on faith, I do not know of one that is addressing this as the problem. So I will be writing several post on this and hopefully we can move closer to the center of God’s will in this matter. After all, Romans 14:23 tells us that whatsoever is not of faith is sin and Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please Him. I conclude therefore that until we get our faith walk right that we will see a continued deterioration of our churches and the quality of life that we live.