Church membership does not decline because it’s that season and it’s happening everywhere. Nor do the numbers decrease as some will swear due to the “great falling away” that is prophesied in Scripture. Many congregations are thriving and growing. Some congregations grow to the point of population over-flow and new Church congregations have to be planted. The reasons that many church congregations fail is due to where our energy is focused.
The first things you will find in a thriving congregation is corporate praise, worship and prayer. Not just in little side ministries but as a congregation. The very heart beat of the congregation is Christ. When this excitement is found in a congregation, it has the same effect as when the Lord walked the Earth; the people just wanna get out there and tell somebody about Him, just like the Samaritan woman at the well.
John chapter 4 says she ran to share the Good News with the people in her town. Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, Jesus stayed and taught them for 2 days and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
A thriving church will not wait for a lost and dying world to find it… it will go out excitedly lifting Jesus to a lost and dying world and the result will be the same as when the woman shared the news… it will be Jesus Himself who draws them to Himself.
A failing church is very very busy… and very very unproductive. The congregation spends countless hours doing ministry business within the four walls of the sanctuary without ever going out to reach the community. If we are all believers inside of the four walls… what do we accomplish for the furthering of the Kingdom by setting up endless committees, planning perpetual fundraisers, installing officers to oversee the committee’s officers and one another… not to mention endless meetings about the state of our congregation, our committees and our ministries. How will we be fishers of men if we are too busy minding the aquarium?
Even Jesus let it be known that “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He was never busy heading up and establishing temple committees. We must get out and get busy while it is still daylight left, because no one can work in the dark.
I found this chart it is a good indication of where our congregations stand.