How should we respond to a decline in church attendance?


Studies show that attendance in a big majority of churches in America is declining. Millennials are leaving the church and the older generations who once valued God's Word are getting too weak to stay active.

We look at this decline and think, are we failing in our mission to reach the ends of the earth? If we are, then what must we do to bring back the zeal and passion to grow churches?

Looking specifically at your own local church, are you currently experiencing a decline? Is it creating a knot in your stomach and in your spirit that cries out for spiritual revival? Churches are declining, but there is something we can do about it.

It's not our job to grow churches

The first thing we are to do in responding to church attendance decline is to remind ourselves that we do not bring in the harvest. God does. As simple as this sounds, so many church leaders struggle with this idea.

We think that when churches drop, we need better activities, better strategies, nicer buildings or improved worship services. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

It is God's job to build the church. Our job is to honor Him through the conducts of this church, and to love one another just as Christ has loved us. Churches that are too much about the numbers can often be deceived into thinking that church growth is up to them. It has never been about us.

In fact, it could be possible that churches are dying because too many leaders are making it about their efforts, and God lovingly gives way as a result of the free will He has given us. I hope we freely choose Jesus as the foundation of church growth -- not strategies, ideas or concepts made by man.

"Praise God that my church is shrinking!"

You might not like what I am about to say next: It might actually be a good thing that your church is dropping in attendance. Society tells us that big crowds and large buildings are signs of success. That is not always true.

I have seen pastors with congregations that have shrunk that are pleasing God with the work of their hands, and I have seen pastors with mega-churches but lose their way in the call God has for their life.

Without a shadow of a doubt, we want the multitudes. We want thousands, even tens of thousands to come flocking through our doors to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but numbers aren't everything.

The most vital part of this all is keeping Jesus at the centre of everything that we do and staying sensitive to His move and calling so that we may do as He pleases with His church. It's not our church, it's God's, and He will determine the attendance mark for us.