Visit most any urban church in America and you will often find a small group of people rattling around in a large facility. The “glory days” for the church have passed them by and things are currently being held together by the barest of means.
If you look and listen carefully, you will find many signs of the impending death of that local church. But, like many other topics in life, no one speaks of the elephant in the room. What are we avoiding?
#1 – Infrequent adult baptisms
Adult baptisms indicate conversions … life is happening on a missional level. When there have been few to none of these in the recent past, death is lurking at the door!
#2 – Reluctance to participate
Whatever the reason for the attitude, when people disengage from the ministry to and mission of the church, forward momentum ceases.
#3 – A desire to decide
Coupled with the reluctance to participate, an urban church often has to deal with people who would rather tell others how to live and do church. Such hypocrisy taints the spirit of the body and people flee such manipulation, thus shrinking the resources and size of the congregation even more.
#4 – Acceptance of entropy
With less, the church services and facilities deteriorate. Since the Gospel is “go and serve,” the urban church now stands as a statue to a by-gone era in the midst of a teeming metropolis of lost people.
#5 – A hostility towards innovation
Arthritis sets in to the small group left and any new movement causes an eruption of the inflammation that plagues God’s people. Stakeholders nix any new idea for fear what remains will be lost.
While no one seems to speak of these things, they are crushing the urban church. Innovation and a fresh wind of the Spirit are needed to restore the vision and mission of Jesus Christ in the local, urban church. Eagles In Leadership exists to help you live and thrive in the changing setting of your urban center. If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact us at admin[@]eaglesinleadership.org.
It is good to see more people observing the plight of so many urban churches and then talking and writing about what they observe. Understanding what is happening to cause 4,000 churches to close each year in America is the first step to correcting the problem.
Thank you Eddie! God loves the city, and hopefully we will love it as much as he does as well. 🙂