The Endangered Church

Some days I wonder if the church will ever be extinct. Today I walked into a church that was well on its way. The average age of the congregation was probably 55–and it’s only that low because of Abby and I and the lone two-year-old that waved her hands during the worship time.

The church had an enormous balcony that went around the entire church, a huge choir loft, and a huge floor area with two wings. The balcony was empty. The last five rows were corded off. There was a sign asking people to fill in the center pews. The side pews were mostly empty. The people attending could easily have fit in the empty choir loft.

The church was on the corner in a city neighborhood, a block from a major bus lines, and three blocks from a major free way. A college campus was only 5 blocks away. There could easily be 25,000 people within a half-mile of the church. Of course none of them are coming on Sunday morning. It’s the kind of church that won’t be around in ten years if things continue as they are.

There’s probably two dozen churches with in a half-mile of my apartment. I wonder how many of them are shrinking, failing to reach the community around them, failing to have an impact. And we wonder why modern American culture feels little impact from Christianity.

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