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Surveys show that some churches are experiencing a decline in attendance. Experts give various reasons they think it is happening. I’m not an expert, but I see two compelling reasons in the Bible. Moses identified one when he told his people they should be very careful as they prosper, because in doing so, we tend to forget our need for God. Jesus alerts us to another reason. He said unity and love among His followers would be a powerful witness in winning others to Him. He prayed earnestly that His followers would be united. We read in John 17:21–22 when Jesus said to His Father, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” God wants us to display such unity and love among ourselves that onlookers will see in us that God loves them. Since our country is a melting pot of various ethnic groups, we have a unique chance to show the world how much God loves them. Sadly, the greatest chasm of love and unity among ethnic groups in our country is between White and African Americans. If we ever fix that, it will be so dramatic that the rest of the world will take notice. Many will embrace our Lord, and I think, even church attendance will increase.

One Comment

  • Charity Dell says:

    Decline in church attendance is a result of many factors, but I highly doubt that “the chasm between Euro-American and African-American Christians” is a major reason. Church attendance is rising among Latino, African, Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Native American and Asian ethnic groups. African-americans and Euro-americans are NOT the only ethnocultural peoples attending church in the United States or the world! Not all Euro-American or African-American churches are in decline–church growth is greatest among evangelical, full gospel, charismatic and Pentecostal churches in the United States for both African-American and Euro-American populations. Liturgical and/or traditional churches that have embraced diverse worship styles and/or Pentecostal/full gospel emphases are ALSO growing among both Euro-American and African-American ethnic groups.For the most part, people attend churches that reflect their own desires for fellowship, preaching and even the joyful music that makes worship a delight to participate in. Many of us do not want to forsake our own heritages for worship that is not culturally relevant to us. Others attend churches to have quality Christian education and children’s/youth activities available to their families. Cultural and linguistic factors are equally important, and for many Christians, they need to attend a church that welcomes both their culture and language and values these in the worship life of the church. Immigrant Christians from other lands typically cannot worship in English-only churches–not because they “want to be separate” but because they simply cannot participate in the life and worship of a church in which they cannot comprehend what is being said or done. Most churches do not have interpretation services available for non-English speaking Christians or seekers and their families. There are many inter-cultural and inter-ethnic churches, but these churches tend to be located near major metro areas; these churches also have resources and personnel (who may be multilingual and/or better educated) that the typical small-to-medium community church or rural/village church simply cannot provide and.or obtain. Many of us attend our “family-of-origin” churches that reflect an ongoing faith in family groups in congregations that may be hundreds of years old–and we may have close ties to the extended families of Christians in those churches we have loved since our childhoods. Churches also decline (or multiply) when the populations that comprise the churches move, out, migrate, immigrate, move in or when economic resources are removed from the community–such as factories, schools, colleges, medical facilities or other major employers–which forces the church members to seek jobs and employment opportunities elsewhere to support themselves and/or their families. This is usually the cause for major population shifts that tend to deplete the small-to-medium church that may be located in communities that have lost citizens due to the closing of major community employers. Disillusionment with church NONSENSE–emphases on endless money-raising; sexual misconduct/abuse of children; extreme shepherding doctrines/cult control; tangential teachings and personal clergy preferences for any number of issues–is the main factor that drives Christians away from their congregations. Many of these people may leave a church but choose to attend other churches after searching for a church that suits their needs.

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