Summary: A look at a variety of reasons Churches are dying!
I was in church one Sunday and one of the old Missionaries was leading the early Morning Prayer, she cried loud and shook the rafters as she prayed. She said at one point “Lord send the sinner man into this church!” It was uttered with the utmost sincerity and piety, but she was very much wrong! God doesn’t send sinners to church! He expects US to bring people to Jesus Christ! Jesus told His disciples to pray for laborers for the sole purpose of harvesting LOST SOULS! Too many pastors expect their churches to be like “magnets” and sinners will just come to church! We must invite sinners to Jesus first and foremost, and we must also invite people to our place of worship.
It is not enough to have a nice edifice! Churches HAVE to aggressively share the Gospel of Jesus in their communities AND minister to its poor. This is the primary reason Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the church, so we could preach the Gospel and make disciples (students). Too often pastors want everyone to embrace and support HIS vision, but he forgets that others vision (purpose) helps support the church as well. Every Pastor NEEDS an EVANGELIST in their church to bring people to Christ so the PASTOR can nurture them, The TEACHER make them disciples and helps them go from milk to meat. The PROPHET inspires people to press into the perfect will of God. It is not a prophet’s job to “see” new cars in your future!
We have merchandised the anointing so much, that church is 90% business and 10% actual ministry! You would be amazed at the professed Christians (to include clergy), that don’t actively win souls. There is more emphasis on raising money in our churches than there is winning souls! And it is killing our churches. Yes some of the money preaching churches have large numbers! I have visited many of them and they have one thing in common, they keep the congregation hostage by telling them if they don’t give they won’t be blessed! So everyone is waiting for the “sanctified lottery” with God!
Outreach is not popular because there is no “payoff” to the carnal minded clergyman and their churches. You can’t get a speaker offering for witnessing and preaching on the street. The modern day preacher looks at street preachers like they are buffoons or unlearned simpletons with no real credentials. Well I beg to differ! In this wicked generation we need some modern day John the Baptist! I have won more souls on the street than I have from a walnut stained pulpit. We have to get back to the basics and fulfill the Great Commission!
If pastors stressed soul winning as much as they stress giving and honoring themselves maybe our churches would be filled with committed Christian converts. You may think I am being hard on pastors but I have to be because in our modern system of church government, it is the pastors that call the shots! Whatever the shepherd feeds the sheep is what they get. You want soul-winners? Then preach soul winning!
I was once affiliated with the Navigators Ministry while stationed in Washington, DC. They are the models of what EVERY church SHOULD be about! Navigator’s prime directive is to win the lost and disciple them so they can in turn win souls and make more disciples! We would go out with our Jesus T-shirts and tracts and make the devil mad! The devil could care less about you wearing a Gucci suit or a designer dress and hat to church. But he gets mad when you bring a lost soul to Jesus Christ first and second to church.
I thank God for my mentors in Christ! There was a preacher named Ike Sierson, whom I met while stationed Kunsan AB in Korea. I used go out with him on “Soul Patrols”. He taught me the importance of soul winning and what it cost! Ike was not a popular guy mind you, I have seen so-called Christians call him a fanatic and a trouble- maker. But no one won souls like this guy! Why? 1. He was dedicated to the cause 2. He didn’t care what people thought about him 3. He realized that was the most important purpose a believer has.
By the time I went back to Korea for a second tour, I had become just like Ike! I lead teams of saints out every Friday and Saturday night downtown. We preached on corners, handed out tracts, and witnessed like Jesus was coming back that night! My pastor then was Elder Herman Platt. Elder Platt like Ike had a burden for the lost and loved outreach. But I learned a different lesson from Elder Platt! He taught me the importance of intercessory prayer and the need to depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit.