Why Simple Church?Do you know someone who will not set foot in a church building?
Do you know someone who will not set foot in a church?
Western cultures face a major crisis.
With 83.6% of America not attending a conventional church on any given weekend and approximately 95% of people in other Western cultures not attending a conventional church, we are praying that God will raise up a legion of Simple Church missionaries. It’s time to meet people where they are, just like the first missionaries did throughout the New Testament (and even the Old Testament!).
Looking at North America alone, 80% of all churches have reached a plateau or a decline.1 The vast majority of the church’s growth comes from “switchers”—people who move from one church to another. Researchers suggest that only somewhere between 1-3% of church growth is from conversion.2 Other Western cultures, such as Europe, Australia and New Zealand, record church attendance to range between 2-8%.
It can be disheartening to think that as of 2008, over 3500 people are leaving the church each day,10 and that the yearly decline in the percentage of people attending a Christian church was faster from 2000-2005 than it was from 1990-2000.4
As of 2015, 104 million Americans have walked away from their local churches. That is one-third of the population which now characterizes the fastest growing segment of the population. Josh Packard, in his book Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith, uncovers some new research. The people who are leaving are the 20% of a congregation who do most of the work in the church. He says, “The two most important macro-level trends are undoubtedly the loss of trust in social institutions in general and religious leaders in particular and the perception that religious institutions are no longer tied into the daily life of individuals as intimately as they once were. In other words, they’re increasingly considered irrelevant.”27
And that’s not all. If you’re looking for sobering statistics, there are plenty more.
So why are they leaving, and where are they going?
According to researcher Josh Packard, “Our respondents are clear that the church needs to adopt policies and practices that disseminate power, reduce the role of the pastors as the holder and conveyor of all knowledge, and utilize organizational resources to empower people rather than to control them.”27
George Barna, “The new Revolution differs in that its primary impetus is not salvation among the unrepentant—but the personal renewal and recommitment of believers. The dominant catalyst is people’s desperation for a genuine relationship with God. The renewal of that relationship spurs the believers to participate in spreading the gospel. Rather than relying on a relative handful of inspired preachers to promote a national revival, the emerging revolution is truly a grassroots explosion of commitment to God that will refine the Church and result in a natural and widespread immersion in outreach.”
And many of these inspired individuals are going to house churches in a spiritual quest for a more relevant, active relationship with God.
“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth, there will be, among the people of the Lord, such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His Word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time, to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming” (E.G. White, The Great Controversy, p.464).
“Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. Multitudes leave to institutions and organizations the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. They become self-absorbed and unimpressible. Love for God and man dies out of the soul” (E.G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 147).
It’s time to engage in the mission field right in front of us, in our own neighborhoods.
So What Do We Do?
Simple Church believes the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ will give hope, peace, and a purpose for living to the many individuals that are leaving the doors of traditional churches (see E. G. White, Gospel Workers, p.363).
In order to meet these people where they are, Simple Church has organized a network of house churches, complete with Bible-based leadership training for its missionary leaders.
Additional resources also available.
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