It is common to have people ask, “How are you?”, or “How is the church doing?”. I fear we are often deceptive in our answers. I don’t want to accuse anyone of lying, but I suspect that some do. Many are more concerned about saying what they want people to think than they are about the truth. Their pride causes them to distort the truth and put themselves in the best possible light. But probably the biggest problem about this is our ignorance. We tend to think everything is fine when it isn’t.
So how are we doing—for real? Well here are some things you need to consider. Surveys show that more than 4,000 churches close every year. There is less than half the number of churches today than there were only 100 years ago, and 3,500 people a day leave the church. Understand— the word “church” is used loosely here, so let’s narrow it down to the Southern Baptist. In 2014 1,000 Southern Baptist churches closed! That is sad, but no surprise when you consider that 25% of all Southern Baptist churches had zero baptisms! 60%baptized no one between the ages of 12-17 and 80% averaged less than one baptism of young adults (18-29). That is shocking!
In addition to the ever increasing immorality everywhere and the declining churches, there is another problem that needs to be considered. I just read that “On this planet, there are about 7,000 living languages. 1,860 of them do not have a single word of Scripture. 4,500 languages do not have a full Bible. That’s more than 1 billion Bibleless people.” So let’s go back to our question– how are we doing? I would say, to put it mildly, not very well! After all these years we have yet to make God’s Word available to this vast multitude. Why?
I raise this question because until we see the need for it there will be no improvement. As long as we think all is well when it isn’t we won’t do anything to change things. O how easily we deceive ourselves! Even as we look at these facts and figures there is a tendency to compare our church with others and assume that we’re doing very well, when the truth is we could be doing a lot better. We aren’t doing as we should, “doing well”, until we’re doing all we can. God demands our best and if we give less than that we need to improve. So how are we doing?
That question ought to raise the other question—“How are you doing?”. How the church does is determined by what the individual members do. No church can be expected to be better than then members who make it up. If you want the church to be at its best you have to be at your best. It is unfair to complain about the faults of the church and to excuse your own. How are you doing? Think about it !