A Staggering Loss

There is an inherent danger you expose yourself to when you tell people how they should be doing things.  You start making assumptions that your way is the only right way to do things.  That is usually NOT the case.  Usually, your way is A WAY of doing things right; not the ONLY way to do things right.  That is too fine of a line for me to walk.

I made a promise to myself (and a couple of others) that in 2018 I would unapologetically speak my truth.  I have learned that speaking your truth often leads people to feel like you are attacking their truth.  That shouldn’t be the case.  But we now live in a world where people think “feelings” are superlative to truth.  Feelings are liars.  They are based out of your own viewpoints which could be totally wrong.  After all, prisons are full of people who feel they are innocent.  Just go as them.

I will sometimes catch a little criticism for saying the things I say.  That’s ok.  I don’t need everyone to like me.  There will be people in this world who will never like the things I have to say.  That is just the nature of the beast.  When you are vocal about what you believe, you will ruffle some feathers.  I tell people often, I am only responsible for the way I present my truth, not they way people receive it.  As long as I presented it with love, I cannot help how they receive it.

I am BULLISH on churches needing to change the way they view ministry.  I see mega-churches growing in attendance and I have mixed feelings about it.  I know the level of excellence with which most of them do on Sunday mornings.  They don’t suck and that is why they are growing, but I have had many conversations with friends who have started attending large churches and they have all had the same response, “We go because we can hide there.  We slip in and slip out on Sunday.  No one know us and we like it that way.”

I know not every person is that way.  The volunteer base for mega-churches have to be big to pull of a Sunday.  There is no doubt a good number of healthy, growing Christians who attend.  But what is going to happen when that church is full of people who are just hiding and the volunteers who are on fire burn out?

No church lasts forever.  I can prove it.  Show me a church which has been around since Christ died.  I’ll save you the time and hassle.  It doesn’t exist.  Most churches die within about 50-100 years.  There is no legacy.  2 generations isn’t legacy.  It is barely getting the foundation to settle on your building before it has to be sold.

So that begs the question, “What are church leaders doing to be good stewards of their spaces?”  Is letting your building sit empty for 160 hours per week being a good steward?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  I know it doesn’t seem like it to me.  I know of churches who spend months raising millions of dollars to build a building which is nothing more than a glorified office space for them.  Sure, they pack it out for 4 hours a week.  They do great ministry there (or at least it seems).  But why are they ok with letting the space sit empty 97.6% of the week?  The answer is “because that is they way it has always been done.”

Well that’s not good enough.  I challenge every ministry leader who reads this to find a way to get the community in your building.  Give the space away for free if you have to.  Start becoming a part of the community again.  Quit being the “Field of Dreams” church who thinks, ‘If you build it, they will come.”

Christianity Today published an article which quotes Mike Breen as saying, “96% of church growth is due to transfer growth and not churches striking into the heart of our enemy’s territory. We’ll consider it a win because we have the new service or program that is growing…but that growth is mainly from people coming from other churches. That’s not a win! That’s a staggering loss.”

So are mega churches really getting bigger?  Well, yes but not with new believers.  They are simply gathering up believers who are seeking that church for one reason or another.  I guess transfer growth still counts but I would argue that transfer growth isn’t fulfilling The Great Commission and, in that, churches are failing miserably.

We have to do better.  Instead of focusing on ANY growth, we need to start focusing on the RIGHT growth.  There is nothing wrong with transfer growth, but when 96% of your church is transfer?  C’mon.  We are missing the mark.

Let me know your thoughts on this.  I’ll be out getting my cornhole team started and joining a local league.  Because that is apparently a thing now and it would be a great opportunity to make some new friends and let them feel the love of Jesus.

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