by Jerry Watts

Is the Church Still Needed?
Jerry Watts
Matthew 16:18-19

• At the beginning of the 20th century most of America was rural. For the rural population life was hard. They made their way by the sweat of their brow and their calloused hands. Transportation, for the most part was still by 'horse and buggy (or wagon).' One of the big traditions during those days was that on Sunday the pastor would arrive at the church building around daylight or shortly after for the purpose of ringing the church bell. The sounding of this bell served as a reminder to everyone that, 'today is the Lord's Day, get your chores done, the horses hitched, and come to church.' (By the way, this was the reason that SS began at 9:45am. That was the earlier the farmers could get ready and get to church.)
• In the USA "going to church" has always been a big deal and in many cases, even expected. In my lifetime, I can recall that the church was the center of community and family life. We know, in recent years, church attendance has greatly declined and even been questioned.
• George Barna studied 'trends' for church and religion over the 20 year period from 1991 to 2011 exposing some troubling facts. In 1991, 46% of adults strongly believed and affirmed the Bible as being 'totally accurate in all it principles' while in 2011 that slumped to 38%. Those describing God as 'all-knowing, all-powerful, and the perfect creator of the universe dropped by 7% to 67% of adults.
• Weekly Bible reading (outside church services) dropped by 5%, church volunteerism has dropped by 8%, and adult attendance has dropped by 9%. The only significant finding of something going the other direction (rising) was in the matter of being born again which showed a 5% increase. This is a little puzzling, but not surprising.
• Based on these facts the question which I ask today is found in the title of this message: "Is the church still needed today?"
• Honestly, most people don't need just another meeting, ...

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