Church attendance is declining across the U.S. As you would expect, some regions are hit harder than others. When doing some research I noticed that fewer people attend church in San Francisco than anywhere else in the country. Boston is a close second. These are two pretty liberal cities so that doesn’t surprise me.
I have a half-dozen grandkids. I want them to spend their lives serving in a church but I read studies that say millennials (18-30) aren’t getting what they want in church so they’re leaving. That scares me. If we lose the young people the church is doomed.
What does the Bible say a church should be? Most of what I know about the purpose of the church is found in the New Testament book of Acts. The church I attend calls itself an “Acts 2 church.” Acts 2:42 says “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
According to this passage, the purpose of the church is to;
- teach the doctrine of the Bible,
- provide a place of fellowship for believers,
- observe communion through the Lord’s Supper, and
- regular prayer.
Will this model work in the future? Will it bring back those who have left? Will it meet the needs of all age groups? Yup.
As I interpret the list above, I think a church should be a place where:
- People are challenged. We need to teach the Bible in a clear way and challenge attendees to think about difficult issues.
- People feel comfortable and not pressured. Those who attend should be allowed to be in church without feeling like they have to actively participate in “stuff.”
- God is worshiped, without shame or excuse.
- People understand and see the power of prayer.
- The widowed, orphaned, imprisoned, sick, elderly are helped.
- People are called to follow Jesus.
- Nobody judges anyone else. God is the judge. No one else.
- I can feel safe with my spiritual needs if I want help, someone is available to help me.
Go to church. The church needs you. And you need a church.