The last full weekend in June my wife and I took a vacation. We took time away from her job leading teachers and teaching summer school and my role as a preacher. I had the opportunity o assemble in worship and learn from a preacher I had not heard speak before. Thank you Foley Church of Christ and Joel Wheeler for making us feel so welcomed!
While were were driving to South Alabama and as we spent time in Baldwin County and drove over to Pensacola, FL. We saw a few church buildings. As we drove back to Tuscaloosa through East Mississippi and West Alabama, we saw even more church buildings. Many of these buildings showed signs of abandonment, some longer than others. No one was assembling in these buildings.
Why? Why we Christians no longer meeting in these former houses of worship? A few possibilities came to mind:
- The community moved away and people started attending where they now lived.
- Children moved off and the congregation dwindled from a lack of outreach.
- There was a lack of leadership toward growth and relevancy.
- Maybe the congregation grew and relocated to a new building in a different part of town.
- Maybe there is something even sadder behind the empty building.
As I thought about these buildings, the people who used to assemble there, the hymns that once echoed in the rafters, and the manifold sermons preached from the pulpit, I began to wonder, “What would cause a church to die?”
I looked back at God’s people Israel and Judah and found some answers. The things that lead to their destruction and captivity are the same things that could lead to a churches candle going out.
- Ignoring the seriousness of sin – Mic 6:9-13.
- A lack of trusting faith in God but instead placing faith in the wrong things like a government or physical strength – Isa 31:1.
- Having pride in a name, history, or building – Jer 7:4.
- All of these stem from a lack of knowledge of God’s Word – Hos 4:6.
- All things each individual Christian can avoid in his/her life. What are you and I doing to keep the Kingdom vibrant? What am I doing to keep the church where I assemble alive?
All of these causes are things each individual Christian can avoid in his/her life. We can each play a part in keeping a church alive or contribute to her demise. We can help the Kingdom thrive or we can sit by and watch the prince of the world have his victories. Allow me to close with these challenging questions:
What are you and I doing to keep the Kingdom vibrant?
What are you doing to keep the church were you assemble alive?
How is your congregation being a light to the community around you?