MUSINGS – September 20 2018
“Several days later Jesus came back to Capernaum. The report went out that he was home. Many people had gathered. There was no room left, even in front of the door. Jesus was speaking God’s word to them.”
The above graph shows the decline in church attendance from 1952 to 2013.
In 2013 a Gallup pole, conducted via telephone, indicates that 37% of Americans report that they attend religious services weekly or near-weekly. However numbers from actual counts of people in Orthodox Christian churches (Catholic, mainline and evangelical) show that only 17.7 percent of the population attended a Christian church on any given weekend.
The United Methodist Church with 7 million members in the U.S. ranks as the largest mainline Protestant denomination. However, less than 3 million attend church even sporadically. All of the main line churches are in the same decline.
Hundred, if not thousands, of books, seminars, webinars, and conventions are trying to address the issue of declining attendance.
I’m certainly not an expert on this subject but I’m going to weigh in with my opinion. Jesus never built a church. When it was no longer safe to teach in the synagogue, he took his ministry to the hillsides and seashores. He went where the people were. And, yes, the miracles originally drew the crowds, but it was his teaching that kept the crowds coming back.
And what was his preaching style? He spoke the word of God with authority.* He often used parables which caused his listeners to really think about the truth he was teaching.
Good had said that His word will not come back without results.** Perhaps we should be more concerned with sharing the word of God with the authority that had been given to us.***
Oh, to be clear, if you thought this message was for the clergy, it’s not! It is for everyone who professes to follow Jesus. EVERYONE. If you are still unclear about my meaning … I mean YOU!
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