If the Church is to be a place of transformation, hope is fading. If the Church is to be a place of comfort than there may be some hope, but if the Church is looking to lead people to God, hope is lost. Leading takes leaders and leaders have vision. What is the vision of the Church today outside of attendance numbers, offering size, and buildings? These are not questions that are going away. Either the Church addresses them now or the congregation is going away. Here is an excerpt from a George Barna article. George Barna is the number one source for Christian trend data. He has been keeping this data for almost thirty years.
The Gallup Organization has evaluated the public’s confidence in institutions for four decades. Their most recent annual survey on this matter showed that Americans are continuing to lose confidence in churches and organized religion. While religious institutions were among the most revered organizations in the land for many years (topping the list some years), we are now in a situation where less than half all adults (48%) have “a great deal of confidence” or “quite a lot of confidence” in churches. Earlier in my lifetime, three out of four adults had such a degree of trust in religious institutions.
Shockingly little has been made of this decline. I think the widespread ambivalence about that decrease is, in itself, stunning. Perhaps the widespread disinterest reflects the confluence of several factors: people’s growing disinterest in organized religion, the frog in the kettle syndrome (the decline has been consistently small each year, but over the course of time has added up to a substantial loss), the frequent denial of bad news by church leaders, the comparatively larger short-term gains and losses of other institutions capturing the imagination of the media, etc.
I’d encourage you to pause and think about the significance of losing people’s confidence. A leader can only sustain forward movement if he/she has the confidence of the people being led into battle. Now, if a church is simply providing a safe comfort station for hurting people, that’s one thing. But if a church is intent upon facilitating a moral and spiritual revolution, recognizing that doing so is a declaration of war on current cultural preferences and values, the loss of confidence is a devastating setback. And – strategically – such confidence cannot be restored by simply waiting for the tide to turn; church leaders must intentionally win back people’s confidence through visionary leadership, holy character, and guiding people in transformational ministry efforts.
Published on Friday, August 6, 2010 @ 4:07 AM CDT