In posts like “Social Vs. Familial Groups” and “Thoughts on Church”, I detail some of the issues with modern western church. I also attempted to clarify my use of the word “church” in the post “Church Vs. Church”.
I want to be clear, there is a difference between western culture’s definition of church and “THE CHURCH”, mentioned in Mathew 16:18. THE CHURCH is alive and well. It does not need fixing, correcting or revamping. It was established by God and has been maintained by God. The very gates of hell cannot prevail against THE CHURCH. Western church, however, is a different story.
In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that 37% of all Americans attended church on a weekly basis. Gallup estimated the once-a-week church attendance of Americans at 39%. Remember, just a small handful of disciples managed to turn the known world upside down, in the book of Acts, so why can’t the 40% of Americans who attend church even make a dent? The answer to this question varies depending on the group you are affiliated with. Most go something like this: “Other Christian groups have not held to _______ and have given up on ________. I am thankful that I belong to a group that holds those things dear.” Despite that answer, the fact remains that the world is not being “turned upside down”.
I realize that this is hard to hear. You likely have great respect for your church and the people who attend it. You may be thinking of examples of how your church has positively impacted your community and feel that it is not all bad. I agree with you! Furthermore, you may be relieved to hear that I am not advocating that you forsake the church you are currently attending. The solution I am advocating for is a humble admission that we are not in fact turning our world upside down and a repentance for the fact that our western definition of church has missed the mark of THE CHURCH. Nothing moves the heart of God like repentance! I believe that when we take the step to repent, God will happily show us how to get back to THE CHURCH and start making an impact for the kingdom. If a handful of disciples were able to turn the world upside down, imagine what 40% of the population could do in America.