Today is “Inauguration Day” which is a topic unto itself. The protests which have taken place make us seem more like we have become the “United Daycare of America” instead of the "United States of America" as many of these ‘protests’ seem more like children who have just heard the first ‘no’ of their lives. I understand that many serious challenges face this nation and I further understand that our new president has no track record to be confident in – but as the same time – he has no track record as an elected leader to be wary of. These are new and uncertain days.
Here is what I know: This country needs the authentic, healthy, & Biblical church, quite likely, more than ever. Interestingly, I came to the Subway at Walmart this morning for breakfast. This is not my normal breakfast stop, but I needed an oil change and a tire checked, so this stop allowed me to do several things at one time. Anyway, I brought my computer for the purpose of reworking and refining the message on “Church Health” that I’m preaching in two days to a congregation very important to me, both professionally and personally. In 2006 I sat in the Worship Center at Saddleback and heard Pastor Rick Warren say, time and again, “Church growth is not the issue, Church Health is.” To say he was prophetic is, in my estimation, an gross understatement.
Our country, culture, and communities desperately need God’s church to be healthy and full-functioning. Sadly today, every statistic assembled and every church we visit reveals that, by and large, the local church is sick. Some are more diseased than others. Before you hand me my head on a platter, take note:
- 70%-90% of churches in America are dying out or about to (plateaued)
- Each year we start 1000 new churches & close 4000 (churchleadership.org)
- Discipleship (following Christ daily) is almost untaught–(in word & deed)
- Divorce rate inside the church equals or exceeds those outside of it
- There is little difference between the professed believer & non-believer
The fact is; “Houston (or Heaven), we have a problem.” Years and Years ago I heard O. S. Hawkins deliver a message in Hattiesburg, MS, that has captivated me to the point that, I believe, the essence of his message is the SINGULAR problem in the church today. He spoke from Acts 19 on “The Fear of the Lord.” I have a copy of his message and read it regularly (no, I have never preached it – although he told me, “It is fits your pistol, shoot it!”). So many things seemingly have crept into the church and the lives of the members who make up the body of Christ BECAUSE of the LACK OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD. And these things (do I really have to articulate them??) have bred a church which is anemic at best and terminal at worst. Now I know the church of the living God (the true, invisible church) will endure to the end and be presented as a bride for her groom, but I am keenly aware that the lack of health in many local churches are causing church after church after church (4000 annually according to churchleadership.org) to die.
Then today as I am attempting to pray through, rework, & rewrite this message on church health I receive an email from ThomRainer.com offering us “SIX STATEMENT THAT COULD KILL A CHURCH.” WHOA!!! This was God’s prompting to me that this message was of, by, and for Him.
Click this Link and read these statements. This is his podcast today – I may tune in.