American churches are in decline, losing members. In an attempt to slow or stop this decline a group called, National Back to Church Sunday, has set a day for church members to invite their friends to come back to church. As many as 14,000 churches are expected to participate in this nationwide outreach on September 16, 2012.
However, is inviting people to come back to typical church services after they have given up on them going to have a lasting effect? If people come back to what they have left and it hasn’t changed, won’t they probably just leave it again?
Perhaps the church needs to make some adjustments in how Sunday morning meetings are run and give people something fresh and exciting to come back to. Instead of inviting people back to the same thing, perhaps we should offer them something different.
Most Sunday church meetings are highly programmed, structured, and controlled from the pulpit. There is seldom (if ever) any opportunity for spontaneous participation. People are basically expected (after singing a few songs) just to sit passively for an hour and listen to a preacher.
Can’t church be more than that? We serve a risen Savior. Can’t Jesus take the wheel and run a church meeting all by Himself, without human control and/or domination? Yes He can!
Church becomes exciting when Jesus takes control because from that moment, nothing is organized by man. Instead the Spirit of the living God takes over and begins to prompt people to show and tell what God is doing in their lives. This is not just a wild idea — it is the way Apostle Paul told believer to hold church meetings (see 1 Corinthians 14:26).
Americans don’t like stuffy programmed meetings where they have to passively sit and listen. That’s why talk shows like The Oprah Show are so popular. That’s why social media has exploded on the scene. American’s want spontaneous, meaningful participation.
So if you go back to church on September 16, don’t just go to a sit-back-and-listen type of church like the one you left. Instead try a different kind of church — a participatory one. Come visit Nashville’s most unusual church – The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207 on Sunday mornings at 10:45. (At least it won’t be the same ole same ole.)