THE head of the World Council of Churches has expressed concern about the spread of megachurches around the world, such as Hillsong in Sydney, saying they could lead to a Christianity that is "two miles long and one inch deep".How bad does something have to be for the World Council of Churches to express concern about it? Over the years, the WCC has not been on the cutting edge of spiritual discernment in matters relating to the purity of the gospel.
Something to think about:
- Churches under three years of age win an average of ten people to Christ per year for every one hundred church members.
- Churches three to fifteen years of age win an average of five people to Christ per year for every one hundred church members.
- Churches over fifteen years of age win an average of three people to Christ per year for every one hundred church members. (cited in Stetzer, Planting New Churches in a Post Modern Age, p. 6).
Perhaps new churches are "new" and therefore, something unchurched people are willing to try out rather than go to an old church where they think they won't fit in. Such people are hearing the gospel at a church, not because it is a different gospel, but because it is a different voice. Going into my eighth year pastoring a church that has just passed its 102nd anniversary, I have realized that many people in our community already know about us. So they don't come.
Perhaps new churches are freshly committed to their mission, whereas old churches have lost that vision in the hullaballoo of doing church.
Perhaps old churches have succumbed to the work of managing Christians, trying to keep people happy rather than keeping them focused on the fact that their happiness is not the goal of the church.
Perhaps old churches have established power structures that are threatened by growth, and the people are unwilling to endanger their power by bringing new people into the mix.
Any thoughts from you?