That is a polite way of saying that far few go to church these days. FAR FEW!
Thousands of churches close across the United States. Most of them are large, old, traditional, historic:
Like Methodist. Like Baptist. Like Presbyterian. There has even been a steady and regular decline in the Roman Catholic Church. It’s not a good time for the old folk, and that term is used by any number of writers deliberately who patronize and continue to believe in the old denominations. They have little or no attraction to the younger generations and especially the Millennials.
WHY? Many reasons to be sure. One writer proclaimed that people seek to live faithfully and WORSHIP IN A LESS STRUCTURED WAY, whatever that means. There is one sure way to do that. That is, become part of a non–structured, newly formed, non-denominational church which is now springing up virtually everywhere.
Those who search for more meaningful worship should realize that non–denominational evangelical churches are growing in number and are they ever. Those numbers were 54,000, FIFTY–FOUR THOUSAND in 1998. That alone is a staggering number. But, in only 14 years, by 2012 there were:
non–denominational churches in America and counting, according to the Pew Research Foundation. And, equally unbelievable, almost half of all those churches, some 26,000 of them, reported that they were:
ON THE GROW!
When these churches felt the fire of the real Gospel, they grew. They called that growth:
That is, a new church would commit to start several smaller churches. In 2015 some 4% of all these new non–denominational churches were multiplying. But last year, 2019, 7% were in fact multiplying, starting smaller churches. That percentage sounds small but each percentage point upward represents some:
THREE THOUSAND CHURCHES,
so that there is a total new church multiplication number of NINE THOUSAND! Such numbers and such evangelical growth are changing worship in America, changing the core, even the heart and soul of the church itself. That led Ed Stetzer of Wheaton College to state in 2008:
“Sometimes churches die and sometimes they should. A new church, not a reboot of the old, should be started in its place.”
And that seems to be exactly what is happening. New churches, Evangelical and non-denominational, can design and form their missions to cater to the specific needs of the people they intend to serve. For example, there is a church formed exclusively for employees of Disney World. There are any number of Spanish–language services in many churches, not just those dedicated to Hispanics. There are special church services for athletes before sport activities on Sundays. And, more than ever, there are:
which are comprised of neighbors meeting for informal services in homes living rooms. Such “congregations” are small in number but they worship in highly individualistic ways so as to get the very best of REAL CHRISTIANITY. If the denominations won’t bring the Gospel to the congregation, the individuals in the congregations will find a different and better way to get the Gospel on Sundays and every day of the week!
Writer Ericka Andersen in the Wall Street Journal states the following:
“The success of new models (non–denominational evangelical churches) shows significant groups of people looking for ways to live faithfully albeit in a less structured way.”
True indeed for there must be much more to religion in a real, vital and life changing way. Mere tradition, formality and practice are not enough, especially for the Millennials. Studies seem to show that Millennials are significantly less religious than previous younger generations. Even though Millennials comprise the majority of the NONES, those who do not believe in any kind of religion or have any faith for that matter, such Millennials are still young, and many have yet to mature, marry, have children and families, settle down and then make a permanent decision regarding faith and church, often to return to the so called religious fold. What a welcome addition – return that would be. Experts believe that those who return will not return in any significant numbers to the denominations. Rather, they will be much more attracted to the life and vitality of the new non–denominational evangelical churches.
Both evangelical Protestants and Muslims are increasing in number. One, Protestant, is far less structured than a denomination. Islam is more structured and formal. Both ends, both extremes of the religious spectrum seem attractive, one or the other, in this day and age. Interesting phenomenon, don’t you think?
THE BILLY GRAHAM CENTER INSTITUTE found that those who do not attend church are receptive to the invitation of a friend to attend the church of the friend. Perhaps that is so because most people believe that faith is “good for society.” So many of the NONES, and the Millennials, and those with no religious affiliation or belief are at least OPEN to invitations to attend church and to experience the reality and dynamic of REAL RELIGION, the power of the Gospel at work in a congregation. That is a hopeful sign for the church generally but more especially so for those non–denominational evangelical churches now already on the grow.
Much of the religious growth in America also stems from:
There is a certain power, as some acknowledge in the HISPANIC CHURCH. The Hispanic share of the US population is on the grow and many believe that the same will occur with the Hispanic church and the ever–growing number of practicing Hispanics.
And the same with the African American church. Congregations which are primarily black are DEEPLY AND SINCERELY GOSPEL BASED and themselves offer a viable alternative to what many term DEAD DENOMINATIONS. There are any number of small or storefront African American churches, and there are many incredibly large independent, non–denominational churches. So many of them deeply possessed and believing in THE REAL SPIRIT OF THE GOSPEL. Small wonder they are alive and well in this anti–religious day and age.
RELIGION IN AMERICA IS FAR FROM DEAD. In fact, there is a vibrant new church landscape. And, there are no shortage of options. Any reasonable search will lead to a church where the full expression of the person, the true FREEDOM OF RELIGION can occur, and the full impact, power and truth of the Gospel can be heard, witnessed and personally experienced. Anyone who has lost religious zeal can FIND THEIR FOOTING IN FAITH in one of the many new non–denominational evangelical churches springing up. There is now already a REVIVAL. The fire of revival is yet to come but little sparks, church by church, community by community are born and born again (multipliers) in America and across the world. Sooner or later many believe, those sparks will start a REVIVAL FIRE, a spiritual conflagration perhaps something predicted and certain in the END DAYS. It will not only be a pleasure to see but to participate in.
So called experts continue to analyze the reasons why the decline of denominations. They analyze fact, detail and any data from which they can extract some meaning. But they are always reluctant, always to identify the real and perhaps the only reason why this occurs. That is because these old, hoary, traditional denominations have lost:
THE POWER OF THE REAL GOSPEL.
Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of Glory no longer lives there. The power of the Gospel has been intellectualized. The power of the Gospel has been lost in tradition. The mind has replaced the heart. Works has replaced love. The FAITH – HOPE – LOVE of the Gospel, the power of I Corinthians 13 has been long lost. Nothing short of a dramatic revival could ever revive the church of old. That revival has been preempted, coopted by the new non–denominational evangelical churches. That is a pleasure to see!
It is a pleasure to see the Christ of Glory once more return to HIS own church. To see him, front and center. The object of worship, adoration and love. Those churches, denominational or non–denominational which have done that prosper. They receive His blessing, over and again. Where they are gathered together, even two or three, Jesus of Nazareth, THE CHRIST OF GLORY is there with them, their master, teacher, friend, brother and all things he has promised to be. Those are the churches which prosper, those which honor HIM, his word, his love, and his constant leading and direction. THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST IS NOT DEAD. THE CHURCH WITHOUT JESUS CHRIST IS IN FACT DEAD! No matter whether one is African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, no matter the color, ethnicity or race, any who search for the Christ of Glory will find HIM and upon that rock, these new non–denominational –
evangelical churches will be built.
WHERE HE IS, I WANT TO BE. And millions upon millions of people the world over want and feel the same way. Let religion die if it must. The Christ who rose again LIVES even as manmade churches die. Let religion die. True believers worship:
THE LIVING CHRIST!