bits from bob....

How's The Church Doing?

by Robert J. Young
©, 2001, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

When a bunch of preachers get together, it is not long before someone asks, "How's the church doing?" I heard the question posed often last week; I heard many different answers. I must confess my disappointment with the wearying sameness in most of the answers. Scores of churches across the nation are "just holding their own." Many are just hanging on, or declining ever so slowly. Few are increasing significantly or rapidly.

The first question is usually followed by a second: "Well, what are you doing?" That is, what efforts are being made for church growth? One answer really hit home. "Frankly, neither the elders nor I know what to do, even though the church generally feels that we need to do something."

I praise God for effective church leaders that have the church doing something. Every path traveled may not be the best one, mid-course corrections, or even 180* about-faces, may be required; but the church with godly men whose hearts refuse to sit still in uncertainty and stagnation will slowly, but surely, move ahead. If the ministry effort is not perfect, note that imperfect efforts get more done than no efforts at all. If the fellowship does not satisfy everyone, praise God for leaders who encourage evangelistic outreach through meaningful small groups. Certainly, in every church there are flaws in the Bible classes, curriculum, outreach, and missions. I still like the way a church does something better than the way of a church that isn't doing anything.

It's easy to lambast church leaders for the way they lead, elders for the way they shepherd, the way they express care and concern, or the way they handle visitation, evangelism, and fellowship. It's easy to criticize deacons because of what does or does not get done. No one agrees with everything a church does. Frankly, however, I praise God for the church that is attempting something.

I like to ask myself, "Is it scriptural? Is it effective? Does God want it done?" If so, let's do it--full steam ahead, even when I have another (better!) idea. I'll support whatever comes along--if it is of God and glorifies him.

There are many ways to answer the question in our title. Statistics, activity, attitudes, atmosphere, worship, spiritual growth.... Take your choice, then ask: How's the church doing where you are?

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Last updated December 2, 2001.