Did you know that the majority of churches in America are either plateaued or in decline? In fact 80% of churches in America fall into one of these two categories. Regardless of size, denomination, style, or geographic location; the majority of churches in America simply aren’t moving the right direction when it comes to growth.
One of the key drivers behind these statistics is that few churches are actually helping new people meet Jesus. One of the things we’ve learned through our experience and research at the Unstuck Group is that churches in America are only baptizing around 5% of their weekend attendance on average annually. In other words a church of 500 is seeing an average of 25 people take the step to be publicly baptized on an annual basis.
We can do better than that. We must do better than that. But it is going to take facing down these big 5 issues that prevent more people from meeting Jesus at your church.
1. Churches are Insider Focused
Most churches in America make decisions based on who they are trying to keep, instead of who they are trying to reach. They’re insider-focused. Churches are not only generally change resistant but their practices, ministries they offer, language they use, way finding, guest service experience (or lack thereof), and even the way they spend their money demonstrate that they care more about people who are already in the church as opposed to people who have not yet met Jesus.
2. Lack of Invitation
Sadly, many people never say yes to following Jesus because they aren’t given the opportunity to. Even in most churches. While a majority of churches talk about Jesus and the Gospel may even be clearly preached, fewer and fewer churches are intentionally sharing the Gospel and giving people the opportunity to say yes to following Jesus. I know that I may sound old school in this but I said yes to Jesus at a church service where the “preacher” gave people the opportunity to come forward and say yes to following Jesus. Yes, I know that sounds like an old school “alter call” but it worked for me…and guess what, stuff like that still works today. People just don’t know its old school because they haven’t been exposed to it. My hunch is that the more often you share the Gospel and the more opportunities you give for people to respond the more people will respond and say yes to following Jesus. Try it.
3. Church has become Uninspiring
Unfortunately the majority of churches have taken the most incredible, inspiring, and life changing news about Jesus and the hope of freedom, acceptance and redemption and turned it into a boring academic conversation. While many churches may be biblically educational they’re not very inspirational. Facts don’t change people’s lives. If they did those Surgeon General’s warning labels on the side of a pack of cigarettes would curb smoking and we all know how that’s working out. People want to be a part of something that means something and has real every day power in their life.
4. People are Embarrassed to Invite their Friends
Most people are embarrassed to invite their friends to attend church with them. They’re embarrassed that the facility looks like it’s fresh from the 1980’s (or worse). They’re embarrassed that their friend will be treated poorly and have a bad experience. They’re embarrassed that the worship service is good enough for people who are already in, but not for their friend. They’re rightfully worried that the singing will be subpar or the sermon will be boring.
5. The Church has Forgotten what it’s For
Simply put, the Church in America has forgotten what on Earth it’s here for. It’s forgotten that the Church isn’t for Christians. It doesn’t exist for people inside the Church. The Church exists for people who don’t yet know Jesus. You can’t come to Church because if you’ve said yes to following Jesus you are the Church. The Church is a movement you choose to be a part of to help people meet, know, and follow Jesus.
Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation