Hello BRN Family, it’s good to be with you today!
According to a Gallup poll released on March 29, Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend.
U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.
It is possible part of the decline seen in 2020 was temporary and related to the coronavirus pandemic, but Gallup predicts continued decline in future decades, given the much lower levels of religiosity and church membership among younger versus older generations of adults.
So, what does that mean for your church?
Can I encourage you? There is a big difference between crucifixion and resurrection. You know this! The dark Friday was not the end of the story. It was just the beginning!
Consider the early Apostles’ experience in Acts 1:
4 While [Jesus] was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about;
5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The risen Lord commanded the apostles to wait for the Father’s promise, which we now know as the Holy Spirit dramatically poured out in Acts 2. But have you ever noticed Acts 8:1?
“On that day a severe persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria.”
The church was scattered, apart from their leaders, in fulfillment of Acts 1:8! The enemy yet again thought he had won! But history tells us a different story.
The early church members took all they had learned and scattered Christ’s love and Christ’s truth all around them. And the result? The church grew exponentially.
Do you want an Acts 1:8 church (the promise is coming) or an Acts 8:1 church (the promise has come)?
Pastor, you need to hear this:
“For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them.” Hebrews 6:10, CSB
Your work matters. Trust the Lord to continue the work in the hearts of those who have been forced elsewhere.
But know He hasn’t forgotten you.
- God’s Word will not return empty but will prosper in what He sent it to do (Isaiah 55:11)
- Do not get tired of doing good, for you will reap at the proper time if you don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9) Don’t give up, Pastor!
- He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). I am confident of that.
Please know you have a whole team of people praying for you. Let us know if we can be of any assistance at all.
Stay tuned to next week, in our continued focus this month on “Resurfacing from the Pandemic.” God bless you!