As we are already a month into 2022, we still find our churches dealing with many of the same challenges, obstacles, and problems of the past. There are a number of challenges facing our churches now that if not properly addressed, will lead to even more difficult situations in the future. While there are a number of issues we are confronted with, I want to focus on what I believe to be the three most critical.
First, the ongoing Covid saga. For the past two years, we have witnessed the terrible effects of this virus. In its wake, it has brought death, disability, and great physical suffering to countless individuals and families. It is also responsible, in large part, to an accelerated decline in our churches. At the risk of sounding harsh, it has opened a door for many to leave the church with little or no intention of ever returning. Without a doubt, it has created irreparable harm. Whether we agree, like it or not, it has changed in many ways the way we gather to worship and how we do ministry. We find ourselves having to restart and rebuild the ministries of our churches.
Next, the absence of young families, children, and youth attending or involved in the life of the church. This is not a new problem as it has been a trend for several years now. The lack of, or inability to reach the younger generation will inevitably lead to the closing of many churches in the next few years. In order to reach the younger generation, we must be intentional in seeking to understand them and make necessary changes in the way we do church. The message always remains unchanged, but often times our methods need to be changed.
The third and final critical issue I want to address is the lack of Christlikeness that is now present in the church. Dr. Chuck Kelley, retired President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, has stated, “A life in Christ ought to be different than a life outside of Christ.” He goes on to say, “As Christians, we are to live distinguishably different than non-believers.”
As believers, we are not offensive to unbelievers as we humbly, yet boldly, live out our faith before them. As a matter of fact, I believe this is the greatest testimony to a lost person. It definitely reinforces our verbal witness about Jesus. While much of what I have said may sound dim and discouraging, I am still optimistic and hopeful for the church. Why? Because Jesus is the founder and builder of the church. So, may we be faithful to the One who owns the Church.