Churches are searching for young adults. Survey’s have repeatedly shown that people in their 20′s are abandoning churches in growing numbers. Some return when they marry, have children and begin to look for additional stability but some never come back.
To plug the slow drain some churches have turned to big bands and big social programs but that hasn’t worked well and certainly has not solved the problem.
But the wow factor—expensive bands, charismatic preachers, elaborate social events—doesn’t come cheap. What’s more, many religious leaders worry that offering that kind of experience only encourages young people to think about “the attractional church,” the kind of place you go for entertainment but not for any long-term commitment.
So writes Naomi Schaefer Riley at the Wall Street Journal. Riley is examining a new para-church movement which seeks to draw the young adults into services which promote a sense of unity among believers in Christ. One survey has 98% of respondents saying the CityOne movement has brought them closer to a personal relationship with Christ. 42% say they have been helped to connect with local churches.
We want people to be attracted to Jesus. We want people to be drawn to the salvation that is in Christ alone (). But it is essential that people be drawn to the true Christ which includes what he paid for with his blood, his church, and the entirety of his teaching (). It is good to see people thinking more about Jesus. It is good to see people giving serious thought to their souls and their eternal home. The church must supply them properly with truth.
What is disappointing, however, is that it takes a non church to do the work that should belong to the church itself.
Religious leaders ought be asking some very basic questions about our own decline. At the heart is a question about the heart. What do we believe and what do we teach? When any church moves away from the Bible as its single source of doctrine it always fails. When a church changes Biblical teaching in order to attract those outside, it fails. Evangelism is critical. Outreach is vital. Jesus said to go teach and baptize (). We teach and baptize while God adds them to the church ().
The church must be pure yet it seems the religious community has morphed into something that doesn’t look too much like the original Christians. We have gone from worship services, a God centered service, to worship experiences which put the person at the center. We come to get something out of worship instead of putting something into worship.
It might be a good idea to examine what we are doing when the church assembles. There is only good in standing on the words of the Lord. Let us come back to the Bible alone as the source of our teaching. Let us refocus our worship toward God and not the creature ().
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6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV)
27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (ESV)
25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (ESV)