What's Going on Down at the Church?
News story from Wales, years ago, told of a church looking for a new pastor. It read: "Yesterday the opposition groups both sent ministers to the pulpit. Both spoke simultaneously, each trying to shout above the other. Both called for hymns, and the congregation sang two--each side trying to drown out the other. Then the groups began shouting at each other. Bibles were raised in anger. The Sunday morning service turned into bedlam. Through it all, the two preachers continued trying to outshout each other with their sermons. Eventually a deacon called a policeman. Two came in shouting for the congregation to be quiet. They advised the forty persons in the Church to return home. The rivals filed out, still arguing. Last night one of the group called a 'let's-be-friends' meeting. It broke up in an argument. The headline of the story read: "Hallelujah! Two Jacks in One Pulpit." 1
Sad to say, in these days, news like this is not unusual among the people of God in the house of God. Anymore, it is not surprising to hear of conflict, confusion, and chaos at the church. In fact, it seems that in these days, so-called 'Christians,' and I emphasize the heading 'so-called,' are more interested in stirring up strife than they are in being stirred up by the Spirit. It's sad but, in these days, it's true.
I think of something I read recently that tells the state that the church has fallen to. It showed that:
? Since 1982, Sunday school attendance has dropped from 41 million to 32 million. Yet, during the same period, the population grew by 23 percent.
? Church participation in mainline denominations declined an average of 55 percent between 1980 and 1990.
? The number of churches that offer any type of outreach whatsoever declined 43 percent since the 80's.
? Only 19 percent of churchgoing adults say they usually learn something while at church. 2
Those statistics mak ...
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