The American church is in a dizzying tailspin. With all types of weird gimmicks, spiritualistic kookiness and conferences it has seemingly lost its way, its identity and what its mission is. And the confusion is evident as hirelings continue to cater to greedy, lazy and arrogant believers trying to keep them happy and grumble-free.
You can believe the vultures are never far away. And now that the church is in a mess with hirelings raping her of her precious commodities and leaving her like a battered Metropolitan Avenue prostitute, they have coming calling with solutions. Can the church heal itself without Christ?
Citing aPew Poll, a Dallas based company is offering a service to fix things. Faced with mounting personal challenges It says America’s “faith-based community is in search of solace like never before”. What’s more, it said, Christian churches are in “crisis”. True assessment, but where are they looking for solace and what, pray tell, are they looking for?
Church Efficiency wants to capitalize on that religious restlessness with a solution. The company says applying “simple business savvy that enables a church to be operated like a business and eliminate waste and cutting cost. And that, my friends, will solve all its problems. From a press release, we quote:
” The latest census bureau figures show that more Americans are abandoning organized religion. U.S. government data corroborates the most recent research from denominational offices and the Assemblies of God U.S. Missions to confirm that Americans are less devout now than ever before and mainstream denominations continue to lose membership.
Specifically, the data indicates that two-point-seven million church members fall into inactivity each year. From 1990 to 2000, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations in the U.S. declined by almost five million members (9.5 percent), while the U.S. population increased by 24 million (11 percent).
The reasons cited include higher stress levels, disillusionment with arcane church teachings, irrelevant marketing, scandals, logistical difficulties (long drive, no parking, etc) and a lack of engaging social activities. However, one of the most pressing needs is simple efficiency. “Most churches today are struggling to do more with less,” says Gateway Church Connect Executive Pastor Ed Funderburk, “and that takes efficiency.” He says that while a select few mega-churches like Gateway attract enormous Sunday crowds, the majority are teetering on the brink of insolvency and making dramatic cutbacks in Sunday services, outreach and clergy.
No parking? Is this for the church celebrity crowd or is it a sign that mega churches are a curse? What the survey doesnt discern is why so many people in the church are shackled with these fhings in the first place. Perhaps the answer is found in Revelation 3:14-18
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
While not specifically criticizing the need for more church efficiency (of course that’s needed), did they really mean to assert that their company’s services are the answers to divorce, lack of parking spaces, disullusionment with church, scandals and the likes? Perhaps they do.
“It’s a crisis that we can solve,” says Church Efficiency CEO Lisa Mikals, a Dallas-area consultant and non-profit adviser. “I believe that most churches can heal from within with a good assessment, proper pruning and possibly a re-allocation of current staffing.”
“We can often see the land mines right away,” she says. “It’s usually a set of outdated administrative systems, non-existent business and ministry management processes or a stagnant staff. Everybody needs continuing education, new technologies and fresh ideas,” she says. “Unfortunately, churches can be the slowest to modernize.”
“What worked well in the 80s clearly does not work today,” says Mikals, “but we often find that a few simple procedures and technologies can make a turn-around possible. It can save a church.”
That’s quite an oversimplification for such deeply seeded spiritual problems. What do you think? If a church is experiencing such severities (and sins) is the answer updating your technology, re-arranging your staff and new administrative system?