For the past few weeks I’ve been telling the congregation that the church in America is in trouble. It is. Church attendance in America has been on the decline for decades, and if things keep going the way they are a time will come when nobody goes to church.
But I’m not worried.
I’m not worried about the church of Jesus Christ in the world, that is. This mission is too important to him, and he will not let it fail. If it dies out in one place it will surely spring up in another. If it falters in this country it will flourish in Asia, or Africa, or Latin America. In fact, it is. 28,000 people a day are coming to Christ in China. A dozen new churches are started each week in Cuba. In some parts of India the church is growing at an almost unbelievable rate.
So, the question I’ve been asking the congregation for the past few weeks is this: if the church is going to thrive somewhere, why not here? I’ve been talking about the things those thriving churches have in common, how people come, and give, and pray, and serve, and telling them that while only the Holy Spirit can bring about genuine revival, all of these are things we can do to help.
But on Sunday, after the early service, I saw Maron El-Khouri, who told me how his daughter Emma respoded. Emma is four years old, and after three weeks of hearing this same pitch she asked her dad, “Why does Pastor Jim keep saying the church in America is in trouble?” “Because people in America aren’t coming to church like they once did,” he said. To which she replied, “I’ll come! I’ll come every Sunday!”
Now…that’s the spirit. I’ll bet she would give, and pray, and serve as well. And if we can raise up a whole generation of Emmas, I think the church in America will be just fine.