Years ago when being raised in a particular denomination you would not even consider "if you were in the right church" because it was not an option, and you were what you were because you were born into it. Today due to mixed marriages and exposure to other faiths, choices are the norm for individuals and change is the result. If you don't like one church, you can go to another. Maybe it is better to switch, than not go at all. It's not a family affair anymore.
Usually the man follows the woman to the altar in her church. Then, once married the priest expects your family will also attend that parish, once you are baptized into it. That is one type of "growth in a parish." Some faiths are not in favor of birth control, that means more kids and eventually a larger church. It used to be that way, anyway.
Sometimes talented pastors get "butts" in the seat by telling them what they want to hear. No one wants a long winded pastor. He has to have a sense of humor as well. It is true that unless people are drawn to hear the truth, they cannot have closer communion with God.
Churches gaining popularity these days are the "feel good" churches. They are packed with people who just want to be "churched" without commitment, just in and out so to speak. They want to be entertained and leave with the knowledge that God loves them, no matter what. They will not have consequences for their "sins" although they know they are sinners, the price has already been paid. They are no longer in bondage but "free." Free to worship with their friends and neighbors in a carefree manner, and of course, don't forget the social hour. I call this superficial. Deepness is not needed to fulfil the need of being a church attendee.
Some churches have fancy organs and others entertain with music groups. And, around Christmas, don't forget Santa. The feel good churches are raking the bucks so they can afford to advertise to bring in more activities that will entice new members, which will allow any pastor to boast about and write books about the numbers. It is not personal. Your always welcome with no obligation, and that fulfills your need to go to church.
Pastors have accountability for their flock. All flocks grow, as people grow their families. Some worry about declining numbers, which cause them to examine themselves asking, "what am I doing wrong?" Some have said that they have found "the true faith" and that they believe it is, and wonder why people are not flocking to their church. People believe in what they choose to believe in, not what you believe in.
The only time people flock together is out of respect for family or friends, and will attend funerals, weddings and other special services, held on a feast day like Easter or Christmas.
People have for the most part become shallow and showy.
Another blog that I read recently compared a bible passage that implied that nets must be "cast out for a catch", and noted that sitting on the shore with a net would not bring fish to it.
Yet, you could sit out all day fishing, having done all the right things and it does not guarantee catching any fish. Would that mean you did not do your job? Of course not, it just means that the fish are not biting.
Finally, if your church were to close tomorrow would it be missed? Would anyone know that you were gone? Now that is a good question. It is the question. Depending on "what's in it for me" will determine that answer. Most people will just say "it's too bad, and move on."
Churches are closing everywhere, suggesting that they are a thing of the past. Young people are just not buying into the obligation sadly and outside of the "feel good, noncommittal, churches" (which are not structured buildings, but can be held in tents and auditoriums, or are held in rented buildings), do not have a need to attend on a regular basis or, not at all. Everything else has gained their attention on Sunday, no longer a "church day for most."
If it were me, I'd cut bait not having the patience to sit and wait for the bite. Yet, where there is one fish, there may be a school of them waiting to take the bait. You have to decide if your a fisherman or not. Casting the net requires that you believe that there are fish out there, hungry ones.
3 weeks ago