The door has been flung open, have you noticed? Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say the doors have been flung shut. But the windows have been opened. You likely couldn’t use your church building this past weekend, but since when have we allowed the church to be defined as a building?
Most of the pastors I talk to tell me they spoke to more people last weekend than any weekend in recent history. Really? Yup. The miracle of digital.
For the past year, I have been reading laments from all across the Christian community that 85% of our churches are either plateaued or in decline. That is a deeply distressing statistic. But Christian pollster, George Barna, just announced that according to his tally since the first of the new year 50% of the churches in North America have shown growth. And it’s true of small churches, medium-sized churches, and large.
Now, it’s not the same, I know. I’m a recovering hugger and I miss it. But here’s the up-side. A high percentage of those we reach digitally are not those who have worshiped with us before. Questions with no easy answers and hurts over which we have no control have a tendency to urge us to seek solutions from Someone wiser than we. Non-believers are seeking; the unchurched and de-churched. Those we haven’t seen in a long time. Or never.
I did some checking and discovered that Bible sales are up. Heavily trending words on Google are words like church, church-on-line, prayer, faith. If we insist that church must be anchored in a building we are going to miss some of the hungriest folks in our neighborhoods. The people we prayed would show up are showing up. On line.
But brother Don, I don’t understand all the technology… I understand, but you’ve been praying for a way to draw some of the young adults in your congregation into the mission. Draft ‘em. They’ll surprise you. And if you get stuck, ask your 10-year-old grandson.
You want your church to grow. How much would it cost to add a wing on your current worship center? Let’s see, hire an architect, pour the slab, build the structure, add the roof, order new pews. Invest six months. Or go digital. It may take an afternoon. You can shell out a thousand bucks if you want to go up-scale, or you can use the phone in your pocket.
I hope the prayer warriors in your congregation are obsessively focused on how they can take advantage of this unique moment in time when God has thrown open the windows.
By Don Jacobsen (hope-heals.org)