I recently read an article about the current state of affairs of the cathedrals in Europe (http://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-empty-churches-go-on-sale-1420245359?mod=e2tw). Sadly, due to declining memberships and increasing costs of maintenance, many magnificent houses of worship are going into receivership and/or being sold. Several have become indoor skateboard parks, others theme restaurants and even bars. Europe, once the bastion of Christianity, has quickly become secularized and the fear is that the spiritual vacancy left from the abonnement of the Christian faith, will be filled with Islam and other religions; or no faith at all. The spiritual face of Europe is dramatically changing and with that change, a cultural evolution or better devolution is underway. All of this should make us pause. What happened to the church in Europe? Why is it in decline? And, how did it fail to be a community impacting agency?
Of concern for many is the future of Christianity in America that some predict is just a few years behind Europe. Actually, America is presently experiencing growth in the church—because more churches are starting (5%) than closing (3%). Unfortunately this does not factor in the slow decline of church attendance in most existing churches. As a result, the church in America is actually in a slight decline.
This was the very opposite of the 1st Century church. It had a profound impact and influence on its Roman culture and experienced significant growth for several centuries. Clearly something was going on with them worth considering. As such, I’d like this month’s blog to focus on the state of the church today as well as try and discover some key dynamics of the 1st Century church that made is so impacting. I’ll post some of my ideas to help contribute to the conversation.
I welcome your contributions,