Brother Jeff's Message
To argue against the decline in membership among the churches of Christ is to take up a losing cause. The overwhelming proof is that the church is in decline; some might say freefall. Interestingly, the reasons why are numerous and likely there is some truth in every answer. The Christian Chronicle reported on the churches decline and posted the results of their independent survey in a February 28, 2018 article entitled "Big Questions for churches of Christ". The church has not always been in decline. There have been periods of growth. From 1890 to 1980 churches of Christ grew. After the 80s, those who study church growth, witness a plateau or leveling followed by a decline in not only the number of congregations, but in the number of individuals attending churches of Christ. It is true there is a general decline in church attendance across the board, meaning among denominations too, but just because everyone seems to be in decline doesn’t make it acceptable or palpable.
The purpose of this article is not to debate why the church is not growing, rather as part of the church to challenge you into thinking about your status in the Lord’s church. Are you in decline or are you growing? Why do you think that is? To be sure, not everyone who calls themselves Christian is going to heaven; only those who do the will of the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21). Most people won’t make it to heaven; “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus follows these words talking about false prophets and says we can recognize the “posers” or CINOs (Christians In Name Only) by their fruits. But again this is not about looking around us rather inspecting the fruits of our own lives. Which gate are you heading for; the big fat wide one or the narrow gate? I challenge you to take an honest look. Are you growing spiritually or declining? In the words of Paul, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).