by Charles Robey
(Trussville AL)

There is a new phenomenon trend in town, it's called the " the stayaway saints".

According to the " Barna Group", roughly four out of five – Americans consider themselves to be Christian. Yet only about 47% can be found in church during a typical week. Only about 18 % of the adults attend Sunday School. And about 31 % have not attended any church service during the past six months.

The largest change in beliefs was those who firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches. Only 43% of self-identified Christians now have such a strong belief in the Bible.

One need only to travel a short distance around their community to observe a number of closed churches displaying " for sale" or " for lease" signs.

And if I may, please allow me to give a personal reflection. My family and I had attended a church for some 30 plus years. At one time, this church required chairs to be placed in the aisles, to seat the attendees. A few years ago, the church was forced to close, partly due to the lack of participation coupled with certain demographic changes. At the time of closing, the church Sunday morning service was averaging about 10-12 faithful members.

What is the main reason for this new phenomenon, " stayaway saints" ? This may just be one of those G.O.K. questions.

There again, according to the "Barna Group",
---- Currently only an estimated 40% of adults read the Bible during a typical week.
---- Slightly less than one out of every five adults (19%) donates some of their time in a typical week to serving at a church.
---- In 1991, just one-quarter of adults (24%) were unchurched. That figure has ballooned by more than 50%, to 37% today
---- The women attendance has declining to 44%. A majority of women no longer attend church services during a typical week.
----- The proportion of men who had attended a church service, other than a special event such as a wedding or funeral, during the week prior to their survey interview fell from 42% to 36%.

Yes, beloved, the church has its work cut out for it. Whereby the church once was a thriving part of most America communities it has now been demoted, by the current political mind-set, to something seen as outside the cultural demands. An entity no longer offering spiritual vitality to the community..

Once upon a time, individuals would look up to the church for spiritual help just to cope with the stress of their everyday problems. Now, the church has lost its value to people who still seek for ultimate truth. One study found that 60% of Americans do not value the Church for any direction in their life, or feel that the Church could possibly offer them any value in directing their personal decisions or life goals. What a shame, beloved.

Again and again I hear the same old story. I have the utmost respect for God , the Bible and Jesus, but the modern day church is a different story, no real Christianity there.

So, here's my short list of why individuals have stopped attending church:
Not feeling welcomed
Not feeling the spirit
No Conviction through the preaching
No seriousness about their own personal walk
That horrid “Christian rock” praise music

But the main reason , for me, is all the compromising of the scripture. The re-imaging or reinterpretation of God and of Scripture in order to make God more palatable for us and others.

One church leader, who writes, We church leaders can blame others all we want but I am reminded of the wisdom of Pogo when he said, “We’ve met the enemy and he is us!” Shouldn’t we become more transparent and honestly and ask: “What is happening and where will this lead us?”

Yes, it is certainly up to us born-again believers, as the unsaved surely don't care, ( 1 Timothy 3:1-7) to do our part to change this modern frame of mind, regarding the church. Just maybe we should return to the early church's doctrine. ( Acts 2:41-47) Maybe we should return to witnessing about and preaching the "full gospel" ( 1 Cor 15:1-4 )

So, get on board.

I am very concerned about our modern day churches. If I had but one word to define today's church, in general, it would probably be complacency, a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, total lack of concern etc. (Psalm 14:12 ) (Psalm 16:25)

In looking back, I can't help but ponder the fond memories of those old "brush-arbor" revival meetings where the "Amen's" and the "Hallelujah's" echoed, as the Spirit led. ( Psalm 95:1-11 )

I still remember those strong, but simple, evangelistic teachings. Additionally, in support of those evangelistic messages, was our old fashioned church altar. I still believe in that "Old Time Religion". (Jeremiah 6:16)

I pray now, since retiring from my secular profession, that God will hide me behind the cross and use this compilation to give encouragement and strength to the Christians as well as draw the sinners into a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.

Please visit my web site here and view my other church related articles.


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