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Friday, March 16, 2012

What do you think is causing the decline in Churches of Christ?

What do you think is causing the decline in Churches of Christ?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Keith Brenton said...

We're kinda bad about putting the "mental" in "judgmental." Including me.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Were they ever as popular as people remember them being? Denominational churches have also declined. Non-denominational churches of have also declined. Restoration Movement churches of all kinds have declined. Considering that the CofC spent much of its time as a 'fringe movement,' is it really any surprise that numbers are low? It's still viewed by the general public as 'organized religion,' which is anything but 'in' right now.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Kenny, there's a long comment I could make...but there are about 5-6 things I would say are really impacting the CofC's overall effectiveness. The Chief is dysfunctional leadership--by 10 miles.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Paul G said...

I agree with Jenny and add that all organized religion was never right and acceptable with any of the disciples of Jesus Christ.

Organized religion in Christianity was first established by the Emperor Constantine. He formed the first state organized and controlled assemblies and gathered them together in state approved buildings, he then established state approved leaders and a hierarchy to control the people, doctrine, direction, worship etc. and so the Antichrist Church was formed the 'Catholic Church'.

The disciples of Jesus would NOT conform to those state institutions and their leaders but rather exposed them to be contrary to the Church of Jesus Christ, so the Catholic Church and all other denominational Churches murdered and burned everyone of them that would not conform to their authority, doctrine and practices.

Please read the history of the dark ages.

However those state organized Churches have not repented of their ways, but became even bolder to the point that they claim to be "The Church of God", "The Church of Christ", "The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints" etc.

But don't be deceived, they have nothing to do with the Church of Jesus.
Jesus said, "I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH and the gates of 'Antichrist' will not prevail against it."

If you would understand the 'Apostasy', then you wouldn't wonder why the churches are in decline for a time.
Remember that the Church of the Lord Jesus is NOT in decline, instead He is calling His people to come out from among them and be separate (Rev.18:4).
For the people of the Lord is to have fellowship with one another in the Holy Ghost and NOT to go to 'Church' and sit in the pew and be indoctrinated as it is the custom among unbelievers.
Paul

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Carl Wade said...

For years I traveled the country in meetings/workshops encouraging the 'brethren' to change their methods. Now I have come to a more mature evaluation. Yes, new and better 'methods' of spreading the word to the lost.

Now, I have come to realize that we have to examine and determine the true purpose and focus of the church. Of the hundreds of churches to which I had personal exposure most saw their purpose was (is) to meet on Sunday morning, conduct a worship 'service' and be counted as "faithful". Forgotten is that Jesus said, "Go...Teach" - He didn't say get the lost to your building to be indoctrinated! And, if they are 'converted' -n pretty much forgotten. The new 'babes' are expected to show up on Sunday morning to be counted faithful. The attrition rate was (is) horrendous.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Perrry W. said...

I agree with almost all of the comments made, especially Carl's. I remember the 60's and 70's. Not sure what the Church was doing across the nation, but we kept having to make the building larger, and build more buildings to keep up with the growth. Numerous things were different then. TV was fairly new to most of us, we got two or three snowy channels, but what we got was for the most part family oriented. It certainly is a shame that TV progressed to what we have today, where you have to search for a channel that you can watch without the promotion of out and out sin.

Our society in general has declined considerably with the technological advancements, of TV, Internet, etc. These things are partly to "blame" for the decline. Not them directly, but how we have used them. We unfortunately, sometimes see the world as it is "fed" to us by the media. We don't stop to gauge it by the Word much anymore.

We need to be careful and remember that the Church is (hopefully) in a constant mode of restoration of new testament doctrine. God organized his church, and that is the one and only pattern we have to go by. My kids, when they were about 10, called church "boring". I understand what they were saying, and trying to teach them that we are not there for entertainment was quiet a chore.

Which is the lead in to what I think is our biggest" challenge today, and perhaps another piece of the puzzle to answer the question regarding decline. Look what we are competing against. We see massive productions from Hollywood, elaborate sets, everything computer enhanced and here we are, trying to compete with this when our target audience was raised on computers, cell phones, TV, air conditioning, and all the comfots of life and everything in between at the touch of a button.

Let me ask, and perhaps my locality is different than others. Are we loosing people 35 and over, or are we just not replacing the elderly (as they pass) with fresh blood in the 18-35 age range?? This is what I see. We are not "attracting" them to the church, and we can't compromise the Gospel, nor are we desiring to get into the entertainment business, which is exactly what some so called churches are doing today.

So what is the bottom line, we are not living the Gospel to the fullest, we are not teaching the Gospel in its' simplicity, and letting the power of God convict the hearts of men. At least that is what I'm guilty of!!

Scripture says the Gospel is the Power of God unto salvation. All of our "programs", while worthwhile and good intentioned, can't replace that Power. Maybe our focus just isn't what it should be, and let's be realistic, our audience may not truly know what they are looking for, because we haven't shown it to them yet.

Just my opinion. Hope it holds some water..

10:04 PM  
Blogger Wiley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Wiley said...

In my opinion, we will continue to decline until we quit discriminating against women in the CoC. We are suffering major losses in this area but our others issues such as the fight over the instrumental services by some churches is creating a thick smoke screen that clouds our vision and we just can't seem to see the reason for many of the losses that are actually occuring. When a father leaves a church for any reason we get concerned but many times the mother and children are still attending. However, when a mother leaves a church because of these gender restrictions and moves to another denomination, her entire family leaves, father, children, and sometimes even grandparents. This is an exponential loss! I have heard from women in the CoC many times over the last few years who have left or they are in the processing of considering leaving because of this one issue. I also have heard from women who were considering leaving and have not left because they were able to find a congregation that used a gift based service paradigm rather than a gender based service paradigm. I have heard from men who faced the same decision process but from the position that they felt it was wrong to exclude gifted women, requiring silence in worship and non-adult teaching and non-leadership participation only. I believe many of the issues that drive our judgemental attitudes and combativeness that are tied into our legalistic attitudes will actually start to dissappear when we bring women into full acceptance and particiapation at all levels and jetison our reliance on complimentarianism (politically correct patriarchalism), which is basically the modern day corner stone to ultra legalism. Remove it and the legalistic walls will start to fall. Unfortunately, it's not an easy issue for us who are CoC!

For those who wish to learn more about this issue from leading theological experts in gender equality, there will be a conference on gender equality hosted by the Heights Church of Christ in Houston April 27 & 28. A link is on my web site index page http://www.wherethespiritleads.org .

Of course, like Perry W. said, it's just my opinion :>)

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Perry W. said...

Only one additional comment.. Is is it scriptural? We can't compromise the truth, regardless of who leaves to keep up with other modern movements. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If he forbid something 2000 years ago, he has not changed his mind because of some change in attitude of men (or mankind). I say again, is it scriptural? My opinion is nothing but that, my opinion. 5 million people with the same opinion as me, does not make my opinion right! It is either right or wrong in God's sight. Our modern day experts may be right in may areas, but just because many of them agree, does not necessarily make it right.

I'm just saying, is it scriptural? If it is, OK. If it wasn't when the bible was written, it isn't now.. just because we want it to be, or because the majority thinks so.

It's worth saying one more time, is it scriptural?

1:00 AM  
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