It seems that almost every day I read an article about the demise of the Church. Churches are closing, attendance is dropping, and the “Nones” are rising (people who claim to have no religion). While I read these posts with great curiosity, I do not believe they tell the whole truth about the Church and all things spiritual. Here are five reasons I am optimistic about the Church’s future.
1. The Loss of the Half-Hearted. A couple of the articles I have read recently explained that people are attending worship gatherings less frequently. Then they go on to tell that those who are attending less are people who have a “lukewarm” faith. In other words, those who genuinely love Jesus and have a deep faith are not leaving the Church. The people of God have always moved forward with faithful believers in the lead, and it will do so in the future.
2. Blank Slates. Most of my ministry life has been spent either correcting poor teaching or trying to overcome past hurts inflicted by someone in a Church. Whenever I encounter someone who has no preconceived ideas about Jesus and his body, it is like a breath of fresh air. I can teach them the truth and work through their questions without trying to fix the past.
3. The Pendulum of Life. At one point in history, people may have seemed very close to God while now they seem very far away. I believe you can only get so far away from God and the pendulum begins to swing back the other way. The history recorded in the Bible is of a people who leave God and then need him. The history of all of humanity is basically the same.
4. Technology and Tools. The future of mass communication has never been so bright as it is today. Videos, podcasts, live feeds, and streaming are just a few of the tools the Church is using to touch the world. Personally, I am in the beginning stages of creating a video series to answer basic questions about things like the Bible and how to use it. The opportunities to share our faith abound.
5. God is Still in Charge. God has a way of making bad things turn out good. This may take a thousand forms, but he has the power to bring a change in a short period of time. Whenever people drift away from God, it isn’t long before he steps in and makes everything right again.
As a pastor, I do not worry about the future of my Church. I see a future full of great possibilities for the gospel message of Jesus to grow and expand. It may not look like it has for the past 200 years, but the body of Christ will move forward boldly into the future. I have only good thoughts about the direction the people of faith are headed.