I Was Just Thinking About – VANISHING VALUES.
In each generation, writers address church growth factors and how a group can be more successful as they grow their church. Some also point out that the Church as a whole is dying. They speak of the “Nones” and “Dones” people groups to illustrate their point. It becomes too easy to shrug off these thoughts and statistics. A person can Google Search for data about reasons why the health of some churches is declining. One website is Pastoral Care, Inc. where some reasons are given – “Statistics in Ministry” - 70% of pastors constantly fight depression; 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend; 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living; 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years; The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”; 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close; Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year; Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year; Many denominations report an empty pulpit crisis. They cannot find ministers willing to fill positions; #1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor and are not willing to follow or change.
The radicalization within the culture is affecting the thinking and behavior of people both in the culture as well as in the Church. All types of groups are publicly voicing opinions and participating in protests about cultural issues and government activity. At times, it appears that chaos is victorious. David expressed his concerns in Psalm 11:1-3, “I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me: Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. (When) The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”
David responds to his own question, Psalm 11:4-7, “But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence…The righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.” This is the hope of all whose faith and confidence is in the Lord alone. Will the culture and radicalization win the day? No! The Lord is always victorious and enables us to walk and live in His triumph. He will build His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.