Fixing falling church attendance

Trust in the key institutions of society is in decline. Governments, political parties, banks, big business corporations, the media, are no longer trusted as they once were. There is one thing churches could do to build trust.

After viewing, your next session is: Session 17 – What is meant by “wood, hay and stubble”? »

Transcript of “Fixing falling church attendance”

Psalm 127 verse 1 says: “Unless the LORD builds a house they labor in vain who build it.”

This isn't talking about an ordinary house. It's a spiritual picture. The Bible says that Jesus is building a spiritual house ... a house of living stones (see 1 Peter 2:4-5) ... believers in Jesus ... each one a living stone.

Unless the LORD builds this house, the workers are working in vain (Psalm 127:1). It's either something the LORD is doing, or it is a work of human ambition done in the cleverness of man ... what the Bible calls building with wood, hay and stubble (see 1 Cor 3:10-15). That won't last.

Jesus doesn't want a complex of little houses. He doesn't need houses built by men. He needs living stones, for the house that He is building.

Are there men who, really, are self-appointed, who, when the motives of every heart are revealed, will be seenn to have built ministries to serve their own interests? Yes. Otherwise the Bible wouldn't say: “Unless the LORD builds a house, they labor in vain ...” (Psalm 127:1)

Who are these men? I don't know. I don't know whether a church, or ministry, is thriving because the LORD is doing something, or because men have organised themselves to manage and control a group, often along business lines. I don't know. But God knows.

No one wants to consider that their work for the LORD may be in vain. I can easily convince myself that my work must be “in the LORD”. That man's may not be but, surely, mine must be.

It's up to the Holy Spirit to bring conviction. But, there is one thing that any ministry can do ... bring everything to the light.

We are called on to live as “children of light” (see Eph 5:8) “... to walk in the light” (see 1 John 1:7).

Light means nothing is hidden ... nothing is covered up. Light means openness, transparency. Light means honesty ... all suspicion removed. That's what the LORD wants.

It should be in contrast to the world ... where there is growing distrust in governments, banks, corporations, media ... revelations of wrong-doing. But worse, it's been done behind a veil of secrecy.

But Christians are supposed to be different. If there is a lack of transparency in certain institutions in society in general, there is supposed to be openness in the household of God. And when it comes to openness, we must start with money. Because Jesus, although He didn't carry money, had a lot to say about money. And He said a lot about money, because how people handle money says a great deal about what's in their heart.

So, here is one thing that every church and ministry could do ... publish freely available, comprehensive statements of every dollar received and every dollar spent ... open accountability (see 2 Cor 8:20-21). Where the money came from ... and how the money was spent ... detailed. Let it all be scrutinised ... by everyone.

Do this one thing. And trust will grow.