A lot of thought provoking information was included in the piece, and Joe’s emotions were authentic and real about his opinion about whether the church in America is dying or not. As I read the piece, it dawned on me that I have used this phase, “the church in America is dying” in worship and in talks I have given over the years. And I have been prophetically bold in my discernment about the local church and denominations that do not exhibit a healthy, life-giving model for the world to witness. When you read the article by Joe, don’t miss the “indicators” of life in a church that is not declining or plateaued… they are important to review as a follower of Jesus and a leader in ministry for Jesus. Can you look yourself in the mirror or Jesus in His face and say, “yeah, those indicators are true in me and are at the top of our priority lists as a church!”
The distinction I would make with regard to Joe’s article is that the movement of Christianity, aka… following Jesus, is not dead but the organization that facilitates and controls the movement is dying and needs to be replaced with new, fresh, biblical expressions of what the church should and can become when Jesus is at the center of our lives.
When our budgets prioritize discipleship and outreach over upkeep and preservations of our buildings, and when our global mission giving equals are local mission giving; when we are outside of our buildings and off our properties doing ministry and life with people, and our light for Jesus is shining on the poor and outcast… then maybe I will agree that the church in America is not dying.
Then again, maybe the church in America should die… die to itself and its selfish, prideful, conceited ways so that Christ can raise it up again into new life in Him! After all, isn’t that what following Jesus is all about?
Luke 14:27… And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
Galatians 5:24, 25… Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.