Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
The Church Today
Today, there are over 30,000 different churches. With that many choices, how does one choose a church that meets his spiritual longings as well as one where he will fit in?
If anyone is looking for a church like the early church in the book of Acts, it will be hard to find. However, there are some basic things every church should have in order to meet the expectations of those who attend whether they are faithful members or visitors.
The Word of God
If you ask people why they go to church, their number one answer is usually to hear a word from God. The pastor or preacher fails the people when that doesn't happen. So many times, the preacher talks about what he did last week or what he intends to do next week. When he does begin to preach, he says it will be a short sermon so he and the congregation can go home to watch a football game on television. Therefore, there is little time to teach the Bible with a focus on the word of God.
With so many evil things going on in the world today, people need to be encouraged by the word of God and not by the pastor's own personal opinion about who is going to win the Super Bowl, March Madness, or anything else that is sports-related.
While the mission statement of most churches includes preaching and teaching the Word of God, the religious leaders fail to do that every Sunday.
It is so important for people to get what they go to church to get. They need to hear, and they want to hear “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Some churches spend more time on music, testimonials, notices, announcements, and other activities than they do preaching and teaching the Word of God (Hebrews 5:12-14).
These are the times that try men's souls, and these are the times that people need more than a formula for prosperity.
It is a shame that some ministers don't even mention Jesus in their preaching. As much is written in the Bible about Jesus' birth, teaching, preaching, and healing, He is left out of many sermons.
Jesus died on the cross that we may have eternal life. Yet some preachers neglect to talk about his death, burial, and resurrection.
When Jesus Christ is left out, the minister has not preached a sermon. He has merely given a speech. Every sermon should include Jesus Christ and Him crucified so churchgoers can know Him the way Paul did, according to 1 Corinthians 2:2.
The Holy Spirit
Too many churches today rely on their own way of helping people grow spiritually. They come up with all kinds of plans and gimmicks. Most of them fail because there is no power or anointing in them. Some pastors are spinning their wheels by doing what works in other churches. They start projects and courses and never follow up on them because they were not ordained by the Holy Spirit.
Churchgoers should expect the religious leaders to teach the truth given to them by the Holy Spirit. However, rarely does a preacher say he laid before the Lord seeking a word to give God's people. Instead, late on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, the preacher searches the internet and grabs a sermon someone else has preached years ago. That pastor fails the people and God when he does that.
There is nothing wrong with getting inspiration from some other preacher's sermons, but it says something about the preacher who preaches another preacher's sermon word for word to his congregation on a regular basis. If the preacher would rely on the Holy Spirit, he will be given a sermon that will speak to the heart of the people about their own personal issues they are dealing with.
Decline in Church Attendance
Attendance continues to decline in churches around the world because people are just not getting what they expect to get. They are not satisfied with what they hear, see and experience when they go to church.
People post videos on social media of their church services, and the pews are empty. The parishioners in the seats can be compared to grandma's teeth: few and far apart. Yet, the caption reads, "Come to the church where great things are happening."
People are doing secular things to bring people into their churches. They are bringing in a few people who don't stay because there is no power to keep them there. Ichabod is written on most church doors. That means the glory has departed, according to 1 Samuel 4:21-22.
People leave the church because they are not getting what they expect. In other words, they leave because their expectations have not been met.They often leave unfulfilled and consider it a waste of time to listen to someone who neither preaches the Word of God, Jesus Christ, nor gives encouragement for a Spirit-filled life.
The Church's Main Purpose
One of the church's main purpose is to build people up and not tear them down. Most churchgoers want a place to belong where they can learn, grow and serve. They want a chance to make a difference by using their spiritual gifts and talents.
They want a place where they and their family can experience love and respect. No one wants to go to a church where he is beaten up and torn down. If so, he goes home feeling worse than he did before he left home. That's sad. That's very sad.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 05, 2018:
Thanks again, Tim, for your detailed comments. They are always thoughtful with a lot of truth. I enjoy reading your comments just as much as I enjoy writing the articles.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on March 05, 2018:
One thing I do which many churches fail to do: I talk with the people who attend the service afterwards. This is important. How can you serve a congregation without understanding the members' needs?
As you said correctly: people need to learn and live while growing in the Word. Would Jesus Christ, Our Lord, let His Disciples starve to death?
If the leadership isn't doing the things relevant to love and caring, then they are failing their flock.
Reading what another pastor wrote doesn't mean that person interpreted it right. Did what they say match what the Bible teaches? That's why even looking at the internet, I consult my Bible before delivering a message. I'll never forget how I went to one service and the whole service was about why former president Barack Obama had to be a Muslim. I never attended there again.
People expect to be fed spiritually when they attend church, filling up on the food and beauty of His love. They need to know that His presence is the drink that quenches their thirst.
Likewise, church leaders must be willing to help the flock take care of the physical needs, if possible, of living in this world (shelter, food, medical needs, etc.)
Thank you for a powerful and helpful article about the church.
Readmikenow on March 04, 2018:
I am a Christian and have issues with how many churches conduct business. One thing, the picture you provided of Jesus is an European version of Jesus. As Christians we have to be honest, this is not what Jesus looked like, why? He born in the middle East. Anybody who has been to the holy lands and especially Bethlehem know people born there don't look like Europeans. How can anyone respect Christians who celebrate the birth of their savior by incorporating a man in a red suit giving them presents? Nobody focuses on the meaning of it anymore. The meaning of the resurrection is blinded by a rabbit delivering eggs. No other religion does such things. Of course church attendance is down, nobody knows what Christianity stands for any more. Churches too often focus on adapting to attract people to attend them, they've moved too far away from the meanings in the Bible. I'm a Christian, but it's difficult to respect a religion when too many of those who claim to practice it don't seem to respect it and the holy book it was founded upon. A man once told me "Don't associate Christianity with most Christians, you'll be very disappointed."
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on March 04, 2018:
Yes, it's a shame that there's a decline in Church attendance. I think society has changed too, people were expected to go to Church years ago. And I agree, with the Internet people stream online nowadays. I go to Church most weeks though and love my Church.