We spend a lot of time analyzing the modern American church (unless you live somewhere else in the world, in which case you are welcome to analyze your own church). We spend a lot of time finding what it wrong. I wanted to do something different today. I would love to hear from you some comments on the area or areas where you think the church as a whole is really doing well right now. What are some things that you think are being done with excellence? Where do you feel the church is doing a great job of challenging, shaping, and encouraging you? I can’t wait to hear from you.
23 thoughts on “The Current Condition of the Modern Church”
The one thing that I love to see in church is inclusion! I love how in today’s church everybody–regardless of race, cultural background, etc.–worships together. I think back to when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, and the church I attended was very exclusive. You did not have people of other races attending. The church did not grow. Women were strictly forbidden to wear pants in church, and you would be strictly admonished if you did, regardless of the reason. Contemporary music would not have been played (think piano only), and songs were sung strictly from a hymnal. For a select group of people, this type of church service would have been fine. But it just did not appeal to the youth! Without the youth, the future of the church is not secured! I became very dishearted when I was 16, and I stopped attending church services right before I graduated high school. I don’t necessarily think it was the church itself, but the resistance to change and adaption. As I got older, I found some of the doctrine very questionable and seem even unscriptural. I did not attend services until 7 years ago at the age of 28. I have found that I can’t rely on man for my knowledge, but I can ensure that everyone I meet hears of Jesus–no matter age, race, cultural background, and life experience.
One of my favorite things about the church today is that I see more and more encouragement for every person to seek God and not be looking to other people to tell us who He is or what His word says. People just have so much more opportunity to grow in the Lord when they are consistently encouraged to keep their eyes on HIM and not on others. Also, I have experienced a real focus on the character of God, going far beyond the “Jesus loves you” message. I think for those of us who have had difficult family relationships the word “love” isn’t as rich as it is meant to be. Coming to know the character of God (unfailing, ever present, providing, protecting, leading, pursuing, peaceful, purposeful, perfectly loving and more and more and more…) makes such a huge difference in my walk with Him and that has come from the Holy Spirit teaching me, but also from good teachers who purposefully and regularly acknowledge the imperfections and failures of human relationships while pointing to the God who never fails his people. Totally Love That. 🙂
Todd, well I must say it’s refreshing to hear someone wants to hear the good, we all know what wrong. I live in the Tulsa area so I have a church on every corner. I am starting to see many churches reaching out to our youth like never before, I see churches changing from their old ways and moving towards a new era to include this generation. I am starting to see Pastors who were once stuffy now getting their hands dirty so to speak, by getting involved. I see churches changing where they use to have youth camp to a new camp where kids want to go and are not being forced by their parents.
I go to a church called The Rock, my pastor is not afraid to invite the teens into his home, not afraid to give out his cell phone number to a kid, and not afraid to admit we ALL fall short including him. I can only speak for my church now but I am witnessing true acceptance to all who walk in the door!
God Bless you and your wife, I am looking forward to seeing you back. Here some day!
I am so glad you asked this question. I am really tired of hearing what’s WRONG with the church. Ninety-nine percent of the people who offer what’s wrong with the church also offer no solutions. Only complaints. There is a lot of things RIGHT with the modern church.
I am the pastor of a small church called The Carpenter’s House, a non-denominational church that started in the bonus room of our house on November 14, 2009. During the first year we did several Bible Studies to build up the core group and prepare them for visitors. During the first year no visitors came. Well, we had one here and there but no real growth. Our average attendance for year one: 16. But the core group was getting preparted. We did Bible Studies called 30 Days to Understanding the Bible (Max Anders) and Experiencing God (Henry Blackaby) and God did wondrous things through our core group. Then God deemed us ready and in three months time we had 8 salvations and 6 baptisms. Most of these people either called me or texted me and told me they were ready to be saved. This is God, not me, not the core group. In separate Scriptures Jesus said that salvation consists of the Father drawing someone to Jesus and then Jesus revealing the Father to them. Salvation is all God’s work. So the point of all of that is, if the church is willing to do whatever it takes and not worry about numbers, but worry about making disciples and reaching the lost, and if God is in it, then what happens next is automatic. I didn’t bring those people to Christ, the Holy Spirit did.
I believe there are many other churches out there who are not worrying about politics, not worrying about numbers, not worrying about anything except making sure Jesus is first and Jesus is glorified and they are doing it right! People are being saved. Our “catch phrase” if you will (and if there is such a thing) is “God is in the business of changing lives.” He does that through the church. There is a lot of things RIGHT about the church. Let’s stop putting her down and start lifting her up!!!
I’m encouraged by the raised awareness of some toward the needs of their local communities as well as the world at large. However, this doesn’t yet seem to be the norm throughout the American church. I’ve been reading “Bonhoeffer” and find similar parallels in the church today regarding the lethargy and blindness of many who are so caught up in infighting over doctrinal issues they have become ineffective and contemptuous to those outside the church. However, I am greatly encouraged by outstanding church communities scattered throughout the country where people are being discipled and grounded in the Word with an emphasis on love and compassion rather than “being right”, where passion for Christ is evident in their service to others, and where sacrifice is a lifestyle and recovery groups are as normal as Sunday School classes. I’m also encouraged by the boldness and zeal of young people.
There are lots of bright spots: Not to sound like a suck-up but you and your music (especially where you are convicting), writers/preachers like David Platt, Os Guinness, as mentioned in another post Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer is an amazing account and very convicting. It seems that there are people among us who are taking a serious look at our faith and questioning if we got it right. The fact that we are looking at ourselves and seeing how far short we fall from where Jesus wants us to be is encouraging. Can a little bit of conviction be like a little bit of yeast except that as it makes its way through us it makes us all a little bit more holy?
I am seeing more and more churches turning their attention to the communities around the church and finding the needs within those communities. Our church’s plan for this year is to reach out to the community and meet their needs. If the people decide to come to our church that is great! But we are trying to be like Jesus was during His ministry and just meet the needs of the people around us and when the opportunity avails we talk to them about Jesus.
I was going with the “if ya can’t say something nice…” thing today. But, truly, I’m thankful to be a part of the Body of Christ. I may not see alot of positive where I’ve been the last number of years, but that’s not what’s important. It’s not about how the Body *IS* right now–but how it stands when Christ is done preparing & perfecting it! The important part to me is: Christ is the head. I pray that God will help me to not seek out the imperfections. May He open my eyes to see the Church as He does–in future tense. The Church will stand as overcomers. I am convicted to believe on what God is doing in, and through, the Church. I will not depend on the circumstances. If God calls the Church beautiful, then “she” is. I am thankful for the forgiveness that God gives us. I praise Him because He is faithful to continue the good work He HAS *BEGUN* in the Church, unto completion. He loves the Church. May He help me to live in love within the Church whether times are good or bad, difficult or easy. To God be the glory: Great things He’ll have done!!! just as: to God be the glory, great things He has done!
Thank You, God, for allowing me to be a part of the Church <3
I have been so encourage lately by the body of our church. Our long time Pastor asked us back in November to help him reach out to the shut-In’s, some timer’s and lost sheep in the community.
Wow! We have done so much in such a short time. We started an outreach program for the people IN our church. The ones who need help but are to ashamed to ask for it. I’m excited to see what our family will be like next year at this time.
Everyone is doing their part. Not one feels left out. Even our youth group got together and spent a day cleaning up the yards in the neighborhood around our church.
no one is leaving hungry! No one!
Would love to less showmanship on platform and more authenticity.
Less bashing of other denominations And more united front.
I think there is a poverty of truth in the church today.
I recently moved to a new city and looked for a new church. Most of the ones you go into there is beautiful music and people praising Christ with their lips but the Word is not taught. People are starving and need food.
We don’t help them if we just make them feel better for 6 more days. We need to heal souls and hearts. We need to walk out the door so changed that there is no way we can blend in the rest of the week. It’s heartbreaking to go to a church and hear a sermon on how to be nice to your coworkers.
Give me Jesus and I’ll reflect him and truly bless my coworkers and my kids and my neighbors and my city. Tell me about Jesus and my world will be changed. Don’t give me pop psychology. It’s like throwing a drowning man a book on swimming when you have a life preserver!
On the plus side I think there has been a massive revival in some pockets which is awesome. It feels like there are many more young people than when I was younger whose hearts are open and who God is bringing into the church. It’s awesome to see his family being built. Young people today have a perspective that God can really use powerfully.
I think we are doing better and better jobs at foreign missions than we have before too!
I think we are living in an age where the pain of broken families and all kinds of sin is so rampant, that people see down to the end of that road and they can tell where it ends, and they are looking for something new. We could have a phenomenal revival in this country.
Yes inclusion–In one of your songs–You mentioned about Jesus -would He be allowed in certain Churches–I am not good looking or anything close to that–Where Churches that accept me as i am is good–Pray that i go to where the truth is being taught and preached–Jesus accepts me–And i call you and many other people friend–It says somewhere in The Bible as Christians we are to refer to each other as friends–It is best to seek the truth and the positive–When ever at all possible go help the needy,lost and less fortunate–Thank you—God Bless you all–
When Jesus and his disciples taught to crowds of people in the original church, there were about 99% unbelievers… yet today our churches are filled with 99% believers… or at least people that claim to believe. My only question is… what have we done… or not done that has caused a complete turn around in the modern church?
Granted, there were many in the Jewish faith during that time that believed in the our same God, so i am referring to the message of faith by grace that Jesus brought. 🙂
I had been a committed member of several churches during the 32 years I have been a Christian — in both mainline denominations and pentecostal congregations. I found all of them trapped by religion, passive congregations, and depending on marketing and activities to attract people. Almost all of our time and money went to supporting the structure, what I now call “feeding the beast.” 10 months ago, I left the institutional church and became a part of an organic house church, where I have finally found true freedom in Christ. “Reimagining Church” by Frank Viola spoke to the frustration and discouragement I had long struggled with.
What’s right with the church today? We’re reaching out in the name of Jesus. We’re serving in His name–not for our own glory, but for His. As we see more and more natural disasters occur around the world and in our own country, I see the church reach out with the compassion of Christ and serve. I see in my own community, which has been hit very hard economically, people who have very little give in faith to those who have even less. I see unwavering faith in Jesus. I see people in my community who are unemployed and are facing foreclosure, yet continue to trust in God and know that He will provide. We as a church have faith that God is in control in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty in the world around us. We know that He has a plan and it is far better than any we could devise. His ways are not our ways. As the apostle Paul reminds us we are to be satisfied no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in. I think that the church today has done that and has continued to reach out to others with the love and compassion of Jesus. We serve a mighty and amazing God. What a privilege! I just adore Him. 🙂
I love worshiping with other believers, in freedom, listening to the Word being preached without restraint. We have so much to be thankful for in the good ole USA.
Todd, i think you go to the Austin Stone too, just like i try to, even though i live an hour away. there are some churches that are the Acts 29 church. they are disciplining, training, sending, going, teaching, admonishing, and most importantly, loving in the pure name of Jesus. God is working throughout this country to raise up leaders like the ones found in the bible to share His message. Matt Chandler, Rick Warren, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Louie Giglio, Matt Carter, Ben Stuart, and many more. God is awakening them to lead something great in this country and it will bring glory to His name. in summation, i believe the good thing about the modern church is it’s transparentcey and repentance when sin happen, and it’s theology of the Word above every man’s opinion.
(great question btw)
Whats right with the body of Jesus is the people who follow in his footsteps, who follow the Living Word. People who are helping the helpless (think Katrina, Haiti, Japan), people who are feeding the hungry, people who stand up for injustice and the unborn. There are people who wake up in the morning and ask “LORD, what can I do for you today?” And then they do it. Its not about a building or denomination but actual BELIEVERS who believe the word and do it. There is a southern baptist “chainsaw ministry” who has volunteers to help with catastophes such as Katrina. There are individuals such as my mother and father-in-law, who in their 70s still travel yearly to do missions such as tuitoring, or getting on the roofs of devastated homes to fix them. Worship should be synonomous to “service.” Whatever we do, do it unto the LORD, as our spritual act of worship (service).
Todd, if I could list just one thing that today’s American church is doing very well, it would have to be that they are teaching about God’s love and grace. Anyone who is as all familiar with Christianity knows that God loves them, whether they are serving Him or not. They know that their sins can be forgiven, and that God wants to forgive their sins. They know this whether or not they’ll ever seek that forgiveness. This knowledge hasn’t happened by accident, the church has gotten the word out.
May your Resurrection Sunday celebration be blessed, Tess
I come at this question from a very skewed perspective. I was a pastor for 13 years. I left the church to move back home to my family because my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Having been a pastor and having dealt with several terminal hospice patients, I knew we could be in for a long, drawn out ordeal. Dad passed away one month after we moved back. I moved, I left the ministry, I left the church, and I lost my dad in nearly one fell swoop. I wound up in a very dark place…a place of my own choosing. I had left the church with a very bad taste in my mouth, having experienced some of the very worst humanity has to offer. I was determined to run as far and fast as I could away from the hypocrisy and callousness that I had experienced, calling be damned, and I did a pretty good job of it. Funny thing though, a call seems to be irrevocable. My willingness and desire to fulfill it appears to have no bearing on God’s intention for me to do it. Recently, a man moved to my hometown to pastor the church the I grew up in. Ironically, for seven years I was his pastor; now he is mine. God has worked through him to reawaken the spiritual gifts in me that I have worked so hard to destroy. I find myself at a curious place where, as Thomas Merton said, “I cannot see the road before me”. I do know with certainty that I am not finished with ministry. I do not know how, or when, or where, but I have no doubt that God wants me back where I belong. In spite of all my cynicism and bitterness about the church in general, I find myself amazed at the grace shown me by my church. They know what I once was; they know what I’ve let myself become, and by God’s grace they love me anyway. No church has ever been perfect, nor will any church ever be perfect. But perhaps the value of the church is not found in it’s programs or activities, but in the simple fact that it is there. When I needed the church as a young man, it was there. Now, at 42, in my time of need it is still there. There is still a collection of sinners with perhaps nothing else in common but the desire to reach out for God’s hand. Perfect? No. But, warts and all, the church is there. For me, it has served as a point of reference, a beacon, that no matter how lost I got or how far afield I wandered, it always enabled me to find my way back simply by virtue of being there. Whatever the church may do well or do poorly, it is there. It is a place where God may be found for the first time or for the thousandth time. Presence…that’s what the church does best. Like a good friend beside you in a time of need. When no words can comfort and no actions can appease, presence; just simply being there, is an opportunity for grace, and God doesn’t waste opportunities. I understand very well that God can be and is encountered anywhere and everywhere. But after all of the times and places that God has sought me out, when I walk through the doors of the church, God knows that today I came looking for Him. Glad I knew where to look.
I just want to say this is a nice twist ” look for the positive” when we so often focus on the “negative”. Sadly in the area that I live the “good, positive” is a rare thing to find.I could go into a long story here but I wont as it would take away from what you’ve brought to the table but in the interest of this topic I want to throw the question back at you. Since you are very involved in the “Church” through your music / teaching / youth camps etc … What do YOU see as the positive and good in the modern church and as a bonus follow up what do you think we “could” and should” do better especially as we are moving into more turbulent times???
God Bless, Brian
I think the Church as a whole has many examples of “small things done with great Love” that transcend beyond theologies, race, status, etc.,