I recently read an article (https://churchleaders.com/pastors/409595-church-decline.html) from an evangelical pastor of another denomination. His name just happens to be James White…. But besides that, because that isn’t what was striking. The thesis of his article was why churches are not growing. He makes it very clear that churches are in decline, churches aren’t growing. He shows the numbers to prove it. White then goes on to name some of the reasons people think churches aren’t growing.
When White comes around to the point of this very short article, he says it is not culture and the trends of society that is keeping the church down. Rather, he’s convinced – and so am I – that the reason churches are not growing is because they have reached inward rather than outward.
I am convinced that the reason this happens is a very fundamental reason. When churches reach inward, they become obsessed with minor issues like church service irregularities, pimples on people’s souls, etc. But when you focus on the outward, you become more concerned about at least reaching the lost and don’t have time for the rather small, but arguable things.
This church – ACC – has made a very decided stance to make Reach Up (in worship), Reach Deep (in discipleship) and Reach Out (in evangelism) a wholistic approach that keeps us focused on the real reason church even exists. This is crucial.
When new people come through the doors, members are less concerned about the color of carpeting fights, less concerned about whether the food at the potluck is vegan or not, less concerned about the arguments in church because they begin to have the cringe factor – seeing the church through a whole new lens. Then the only thing that really begins to matter is whether or not the new people will stay.
So rather than arguing over Last Generation Theology, or Women’s Ordination, or The Nature of Christ, now we fight together to help these new people love Jesus and find friends in the church so they will stick.
This is far more important. Far more….
Let’s stay focused outward, huh?