I often think about where the church will be in 50 years. Of course the hope is that she is stronger than ever. As I was contemplating this week’s update I received this email from Leadership Network. Church attendance is down by over 7%. Only 49% of Millennials identify as Christians. The number of Americans who would classify themselves as “religious nones” have grown by 30 million in the past decade. In other words, the trajectory is not good. Research shows that more and more Christians view the church as irrelevant. What can be done? In part there is a misunderstanding about what church is and what it is not and why it is the most important group on the planet.
The church is not a building. It is not a physical location. It is the bride of Christ. This imagery is rich. What’s more precious to a husband than his bride? Jesus didn’t die for a building, he died for people. The church is not an institution, it is a movement. It is the place where the power of God is on display for all to see. And one more thing the church is not…perfect. Therefore we should all feel right at home. The church is described as a family where you can find help.
Let’s get personal for a moment. Life is really hard. Life is a series of problems and it seems that you are only getting over one to face another. Our souls need cultivating and there is no better spiritual greenhouse than the church. On our own we are like little streams but when we come together we form a mighty river that displays God’s awesome presence like nothing else. The church needs you. She needs you to fulfill her mission. This is what makes the church the most important group on the planet because the mission of the church is to reveal Jesus Christ.