Dead churches- has anyone ever seen one turn around?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Emily25069, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Emily25069

    Emily25069
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    I get so discouraged at the church that my husband and I are attending.

    Our church has about 300 members, but out of the 300, I would say that there really are more like 20 who actually are faithful and dedicated.

    There is no real fellowship. I think our church has one get together every year that everyone is welcome to, but this past year, so many people were skipping out. I heard such excuses as "I want to clean my house" or "nah, its not my thing". You would think that people could make it out the ONE time per year that they have something scheduled. Its very disheartening that there is such a lack of committment. There is also what I believe to be a lack of good fruit there. Today in our Sunday school class, our teacher skipped the lesson and instead the class sat in a circle and chit chatted about vasectomy experiences and what tattoos they wanted to get. Me and one other girl in the class were obviously very disturbed about the topics at hand, but the attempts to get back on track were ignored. This is SO not the church I ever would pick for myself. I want a church that is serious about God and has good fruit and people who are obviously Christians attending it.


    Why do we go to this church?


    My husband and I had a very very difficult time finding a church. Finally, through a lot of prayer, I realized that I was not submitting at all in this area, so I decided to get in the backseat and let my husband lead. It has worked. He found Warren Woods Baptist Church for us, and he has thrived like crazy. He went from not practicing his faith at all, to teaching VBS, playing the drums, joining a mens fellowship, talking to others about Christ, being involved and the best part is that he makes it to church every Sunday, where in the past, he would find every excuse in the world not to go.

    I know that God has a plan, and it has been extremely apparent in how much my husband has changed. My husband made his very first true Christian friend (who is one of the Pastors) and that friendship has made such an impact on him. He finally has another man to talk about his faith with and they get together every week to pray with eachother, and this mans wife and I get along great as well, so I am very thankful. I know that this is where God wants us to be, but sometimes it is SO hard to go to this church where it seems that people are not taking God seriously at all.


    I know that God can do anything and I am going to be praying my heart out about this, but I was hoping that maybe I could get some encouragement from you all that perhaps you had seen some dead churches come to life. I dont really want to leave our church, I just want it to wake up.

    Does that make sense?
     
  2. menageriekeeper

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    Not only have I seen them turn around, but I've seen it start from a church a lot deader than 300 people. You might not have a forest fire, but at least you have bonfire.

    A church we attended shrank down to less than 50 folks on a good Sunday. At this point my husband quit going(for his own reasons) and I took my children elsewhere as this church had some serious issues that couldn't be dealt with. That was at least 5-6 years ago. Then some of the "problem" members began to die off. Mind now that these weren't bad folks, just folks with wrong opinions who were to old and set in their ways to change. For a while there wasn't more than a handful including the preacher who had led the church throughout it's seeming death. At that point the core members took a good hard look at the "traditions" that were keeping folks out of church and began to be more Christlike. Hard to do in a town where everyone know everyone and what they did twenty years ago that no one has forgotten.

    My own inlaws began going back to this church. Entirely different atmosphere. Where before it was all about who had the power, now it's about how they can do things together! They are seeing more and more people join the church every Sunday! Where before the black folk in the neighborhood weren't welcome except at VBS, they now willingly accept all who will come.

    All it takes are a few people willing to do what Christ expects us to do. Love your God and love your neighbors. These folks started with barely a spark and look what they have going now.
     
  3. Emily25069

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    Im not sure exactly why we have 300 members. They come to church to come to church I think. I know that I cannot possibly know their hearts, but I got into a conversation with a younger girl today about coming to evening services. She says that she wishes regular service was earlier so that she could get it out of the way.

    getting church out of the way.

    This attitude seems to be what I perceive in many.

    but, you are right. The only thing that we can really do is love God and love our neighbors and pray. I am hoping that God turns our church around.
     
  4. menageriekeeper

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    You know, sometimes we need to read between the lines. "getting church out of the way" may simply mean that that the church services aren't at times that are really convient to her. We don't always get to pick and choose our schedules and sometimes life presses in and makes scheduled worship extremely inconvient.

    Back a hundred years ago, churches didn't always meet twice on Sunday and again on Wednesday night. It met sometimes only once per month. The church I told you about above started out just that way 120 years ago. It's in the churches history.

    Or it could just be that this girl hasn't yet matured enough to realize what a blessing fellowship can be and is still doing it because someone told her she should. If that's the case, ya gotta just let her grow some and keep encouraging her.

    Having lived in Michigan as a child, I have a pretty good idea of why you have as many as you do. There just aren't a lot of choices for worship. Here in the south there is a church on every street corner. Up there it just isn't that way, so people who have the urge to worship will attend just because they have no other choice. Then because their needs aren't being met and they don't know how to express it, you get days like you had today, where everyone just sits and chats.

    And don't worry about seeming chit chat. Some of my best experiences in SS as an adult have come when we've tossed the lesson and simply talked about what was going on in our lives. Not excluding God, just letting each other know of our needs and praises. Now that was fellowship!
     
  5. TexasSky

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    The Lord can do anything.

    If you feel you are called to stay at this church, then start with prayer.
     
  6. gb93433

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    I turned a church around that reached a low of ten people. I started discipling and praying for those who were there and willing to respond. God did some incredible things.
     
  7. RightFromWrong

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    Sounds like a leadership problem to me. Our church ( before we were going ) was dead. Mainly a bunch of older people going through the motions. The old pastor left and a new Pastor and new youth Pastor took over. Since then everything has turned around. Those who didn't agree or like him left ( weeding the garden I'd say ) and those who were dedicated to Gods word and living it stayed. We have been there only 2 1/2 years and we have seen more and more younger families join and get envolved. Those faithful older people get envolved too. I hear there is more of a unity to serve Christ and reach souls than there was before.

    Thank God for our leaders [​IMG]
     
  8. buckster75

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    The key is to get peaching and teaching the truth no matter how had it is resisted. To many have become dead because they left the truth and the Spitit would not continue in that place. Our chuch is coming back to life because we are turning back to the truth. Though some have left others are seeing that it is the only way.
     
  9. RightFromWrong

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    buckster75
    AMEN my point exactly
     
  10. Emily25069

    Emily25069
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    I think the whole problem is that church is not a priority to these people, which is what really bugs me. Wanting to get church out of the way makes it seem like its not important at all.

    I know that Sunday is my favorite day of the week because I love church, so to hear people say that they want to get it out of the way really irritates me.

    But, like I said before, it is very obvious and apparent that this is where God wants us to be. I know that my husbands spiritual growth is more important than my standards. I am praying about the situation and trying not to complain too much..(guess I'm not trying hard enough, am I?)

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Right from Wrong

    Yes, I would say that the 300 are mostly older people going through the motions. This past Sunday morning, our Youth Pastor (who is taking over right now while we are in a period of interim) invited members to stay after service to talk about the church's vision and where we are heading and he wanted people who were committed to praying for the church to stay. Out of over 300 people, TEN (including my husband) stayed after. That is it! The rest of them just left. Im sure that people had plans, but it was the same 10 people that you would have guessed it to be. I wonder why the other people go at all. THAT is what I find really discouraging.
     
  11. RightFromWrong

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    Your church situation will be in my prayers. Keep us updated [​IMG]
     
  12. dh1948

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    In my opinion, if a "dead" church can be "resurrected", it wasn't dead in the first place. It may have been on life support, but it was still alive.

    You can't resurrect a corpse!
     
  13. go2church

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    A church running 300 (the average church in American is just under 100), that has your husband all of a sudden leading in VBS (trationally where women lead) doesn't sound dead to me. Sounds like considering the interm situation that you have a church in transition. I do hear the sounds of someone a bit too high on her spiritual horse, however. Have you discussed this with anyone at the church that can do something about it or just complaining here?

    I would question the youth pastor leading a discussion on the churches vision without a pastor in place. How do you expect God to give the church a clear vision when there is not clear leadership?

    Instead of whining why not pray for the next pastor, praise God that your husband has interest in serving God and tell the youth pastor that he is there for the youth not to lead the discussions about what the churches vision should be. Maybe the people aren't dead and uninterested afterall, perhaps they are just wiser then you are giving them credit for!
     
  14. Rachel

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    go2Church, I think you are being too harsh on her. She's venting, like we all do sometimes, and talking about something that really bothers her.

    Emily, praying for y'all to follow the Lord's will. [​IMG]
     
  15. buckster75

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    Sometimes those going through the motions were brought up in the church and they, as it turns out, actually were never saved. A few years ago a deacon in our chuch, an old man, came forward for salvation. And then there are those who may not be saved and and will never admit it. Pray for the truth to come and for a remnant to stick to that truth. But we must also remember we are in those times when people will gather men to say what they want to hear which may not be the truth.
     
  16. Emily25069

    Emily25069
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    Go2church

    Actually, I am just complaining here, and looking for stories where things have started to look up.

    Maybe you are on to something. Maybe I am a bit too high up on my spiritual horse. I have always gone to churches in the past that were excited about God and where people really tried to live their faith. While it is impossible to know where the hearts of the people truly are, from discussions I have had with the folks there, it just seems like many of them are going to church only because they always have, so why would they stop?

    Our church is in a major transitional period, but our Pastor only just left. Even while our wonderful Pastor was there, the same problem existed. It was a problem that the Pastor himself brought up. I guess that it would be hard to see where the church is "dead" when there are 300 people there. Maybe it would help you to know that not very many of the 300 people know eachother, and like I said before, there are some faithful. My husband and I definately fellowship with the ones who will fellowship and we have been getting to know a lot of them and they are all wonderful Christians. It is just the large amount of people who are seemingly going through the motions that is disturbing to me.

    My husband did not lead VBS. Our College and Career class headed that up, but my husband volunteered to teach 3rd-6th grade. He loved it. It was wonderful.

    As far as the youth Pastor sort of taking over right now, what else could a church really do? The last time our church had an interim period, it was for a year and a half. SOMEONE has to lead during that time. Who better than the existing Pastoral staff and deacons? I dont understand your complaint there. Even without a Pastor, the church has to have some kind of vision. The youth Pastor wants to see the church come together during this interim period and become stronger, and he also wants to refocus on what Christ said is the focus of the church which is to make other disciples. What would be the matter with that? I dont understand your complaint here, and further, I have talked to the folks at my church, where you havent. You dont know that they are "wiser". They want to go to church to get their little sermon and leave and go on with life. They dont want to be bothered with service. This is a problem in many churches I suppose, but its very discouraging to me.
     
  17. buckster75

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    And remember the purpose of the church and your part in the body of Christ. To bring glory to God. Help other members to find their way to God's purpose for their life. Uplift and encourage. Built up the body.
     
  18. Emily25069

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    Very good point Buckster

    I should start by doing that!

    Thank you
     
  19. elijah_lives

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    I often wish today's churches emulated the status of Israel's synagogues -- they were central to all aspects of community life. The early church sometimes met 3 times a day. I commend the RCC for keeping their doors open most of the week, but I realize this is not always possible. Most people in my congregation have nothing to do with each other outside of Sunday service, and many of them are weighted down with earning a living. But I miss the close fellowship I crave.

    But if a congregation isn't dead, but just sleeping, all it needs is someone to stir the ashes, blow the spark into flame, and pour on some more fuel...
     
  20. go2church

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    Reading the beginning of your latest post, "maybe you are onto something" and the last part of the post "you don't know, you haven't talked to them, they don't want to be bothered" is very confusing.

    Are you willing to point a finger at yourself and trust God to change the hearts of the people, if indeed that is the problem or are you convinced you have figured it all out and are frustrated that no one is listening. Which is it?
     

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