A Critical Moment for the Church: Why Do You Stand Here?

The Church in America is in a critical moment.  The church multiplication conversation is gaining tremendous momentum through dozens of church planting networks and ongoing conversations like the one the Exponential Conference is encouraging.  There is a growing hope these movements will continue to empower the Church forward to greater levels of impact.  Will this momentum continue and radically change the landscape of the Church?

As exciting as the church multiplication conversation is these days, the number of established churches stateside that are struggling, in decline or plateaued, is at an all time high.  The number of established churches courageously and creatively doing something about their struggles doesn’t seem to be growing at the pace that is needed. Will more churches embrace the necessary changes to birth a new life cycle?

The next decade of ministry could determine the future of the Church in the U.S. 

From time to time when I am reading the Bible, a verse leaps off the written page.  It’s the kind of moment when the application of a sentence or two of scripture is wonderfully and/or painfully obvious. 

It typically sparks the desire to share my aha moment with others.  I want to highlight the verse in YouVersion. I think about how I can capture it in a one hundred and forty character tweet.  I dream about ways it could fit into my next sermon or training session.

I had one of those moments this morning as I started to work my way through the book of Acts.  It happened when I read these words:

10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11’Men of Galilee,” they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky?’” (Acts 1:10 & 11)

When I finished that sentence, I immediately wondered what the message might be if a couple men dressed in white show up at my office or home church today? What would they say to me? What would the message be at yours?

I cannot help but think that the message would be eerily similar to the one sent by this powerful question: “why do you stand here looking into the sky?” The sad truth about much of what is happening around the Church is that it is not too far off from standing idle gazing into the sky.  I am sure that statement reads like harsh judgement.  As harsh as it may read, it is also just as true.

Hang in there with me.  Hear my heart. 

The Current Status of the American Church

The reality is the Church in America isn’t having the kind of impact it could.  More than 80% of churches stateside are in decline or plateaued.  They are also at or approaching the backside of a life cycle.  Only 4% of churches in this great land of ours are reproducing and the number of churches making disciples that are making other disciples is likely less than 4%.

I firmly believe there is hope to change the current trajectory of the Church in America.  However, it will require and demand an honest assessment of where you, your team, and your church currently are.  It will also require discovering the lids that are hindering you and your church from reaching both maximum effectiveness and high kingdom impact.

If you or your church isn’t experiencing maximum effectiveness or high kingdom impact I have a suggestion.  What is the one thing you can do this year to change the trajectory of your ministry and your church?

Seriously, pick one thing and pour your energy into that. Standing idle cannot be an option for a people and an organization charged with the marching orders of going into all the world and making disciples who make disciples.

So, what’s your one thing?

Post contributed by Tom Planck, HGC Healthy Church Catalyst.