“From the four corners of the earth people are coming to their senses, are running back to GOD.” Psalm 22:27 (The Message Bible)
According to the empty pews on Sunday morning in churches all over the world, people aren’t running back to GOD. The U.S. Congregations website states that the churches that are growing are doing these five things: (1) Welcoming new people; (2) encouraging participation; (3) offering meaningful worship experiences (4) helping people grow spiritually; and (5) committing to a positive future.
I think of my mainstream Protestant denomination—they appear to be doing all of the above, and yet it isn’t growing in membership. Committees gathered around conference tables, brainstorming how to make the church grow—to engage people, etc.,—have not found the “trick” to welcome, encourage, offer, help, and commit to the generation represented by my children and their children.
Offering a “bring a friend” Sunday, ” and then boring the heck out of the guests–with outdated music, long sermons, and rituals handed down by our immigrant forefathers, won’t make them come back for more. Perhaps we need to go back to the drawing board—using crayons—to create something new to keep church buildings from turning into museum sites.
Dear God, help us find item number six that will stimulate the desire for folks to gather to worship you. Amen.