I sometimes wonder if the death of the church will be youth soccer or apathy (I would say the two will have to duke it out, but you know…apathy). Actually, the biggest sign that a congregation is marking the beginning of their end is when they decide to cut mission and outreach money out of their budget. Because that’s when a church quits reaching out beyond its walls and becomes all about keeping the doors in those walls open. And when a church concentrates all of it’s energies on simply keeping the doors open, it ceases to be the church and morphs in to a club.
A club is a place where like-minded people gather, to do like-minded things and support their like-minded organization. There is nothing wrong with clubs. Clubs are great. I love getting together with people who love doing or talking about or learning about the same things I do.
The church is not a club.
The church is called to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and house the homeless and welcome the stranger. The church is called to go out (go out…not hunker down) and make disciples of all people.
BTW, if you want the younger generations to come to your church, and you’re not giving your time and money to make your community better, they ain’t interested. If you can’t give them a way to engage in the lives of people in the community and do the things Christians are called to do, they ain’t coming…or they do come, they ain’t gonna stay.
I know that church finances are tight (our church runs on a shoestring of a budget), but when we cut our mission and outreach monies, we cut out the heart of who we are as the church. We lose our way, and eventually, we lose the church.