Our Church’s Dwindling Membership
In the past decade we’ve been losing many of our young church members to some of the mega churches. It’s annoying and disturbing. It’s hurtful because there’s the sense of rejection and abandonment, of course. These are people we considered family, whose successes, protection, etc. we prayed for. We had invested in the relationship with them, and it pains us to realize that they give no importance to the regard and care we have for them.
Forget the hurt feelings though; we prefer not to carry a grudge. The thing, however, is that we still care for them and are concerned that they’re drifting away, that the move to a new church may deceptively seem innocuous, but it’s the first step to a backward slide.
The usual reasons for the move are definitely alarming. First and foremost, they chose to move because it was more convenient to attend services elsewhere. With our church, they have to wake up early for Sunday School and service, and then spend most of the remainder of the day involved in fellowship. These mega-churches, on the other hand, have so many members that they schedule several services in one Sunday. Members could choose the two hours they would allocate to worship and the rest of the day could be theirs to enjoy. How is that the Lord’s day? Where’s the sacrifice in that? Christians in other nations have to sneak around to go to church. Meanwhile, over here, they can’t even be bothered to wake up early to go to church.
Second, these churches are more liberal. Many young Christians bemoan the traditional churches’ dress code and are thrilled to attend services in their “comfy” clothes in more modern churches. Our church wouldn’t turn you away for coming in jeans and a T-shirt, but the pastor will continually remind everybody of our church’s stand that we should be in our best clothes to show our respect and desire to honor God. We wouldn’t show up for audience with the Pope or the President in casual clothes, right? They’re definitely less important than God, so apply a little logic here.
Third, these huge churches are just so much more impressive. Their leaders are more charismatic. Their singers and musicians are so much more skilled. Their equipment is first rate. Their services are just so much more enjoyable. Obviously, these things could cause you to lose your focus and muddle your priorities. Our church could, of course, choose to up its game, spend on AV rentals, be a bit flashier, etc. but only if we keep the true cause in mind.
Personally, I prefer our church, much smaller and more old-fashioned though it may be. Everybody knows everybody else and we treat each other as family. Some of those who left realize what a good thing this is when it’s time for them to get married or have their babies dedicated to the Lord. There have been several who approached my dad, the pastor, asking him to officiate their wedding ceremony or christen their baby, claiming that they still consider him their pastor since the many pastors in their new church don’t even know them. And yet they still don’t go back to our church.
Like I said, it’s disturbing. They’re being obnoxious and offensive, and they’re clueless about it. They’re slipping away and they don’t even realize it.