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Church: My new lessons!

October 28, 2012
once upon my grandfather's church with a sunday chime!

Once upon a trip to the UK, I finally saw a few “cathedral” buildings in London that have been converted to other purposes.

Whoa! “So it is true!!!”

As I kept moving around the country, I heard more stories about churches being converted to homes, offices, pubs etc. I heard of a black church that had to merge with a white church on the verge of extinction.

However, I happened upon a white Pentecostal church. I worshiped there and saw elderly whites in church! Like I was going to ask someone behind me, I looked round and wondered, “I thought they said these people do not go to church!”

Professor-Emeritus Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary, USA was called upon to checkout a church whose attendance was dwindling.

He attended a service with them and then left them this message:

“You guys should put a gate at your church and begin to charge gate fees. Tell people to come and see how church was being done in the 15th century!”

The whites we thought do not go to church have changed in culture, while the churches have remained the same, servicing a people that are no longer in town!

As I sat contemplating all these, I remembered Nigerian Orthodox churches and the battle against youth-drain!

I wondered if one day, some of our churches would not be on the verge of extinction!

Hopefully, the Pentecostal churches would bid to buy the structures, but why do we have to wait till then to do a proper diagnosis and address the obvious issues! After-all,  it’s not that God has left the churches!

I remember a verse in the Old Testament that seems to me to be the minimum requirement for any one who wants to lead a congregation:

Isaiah 3:7

But in that day he will cry out, “I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people.” (NIV)

in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.” (ESV)

1) What are people doing in church leadership who cannot solve the problems of church members!

2) I observed that an average Nigerian pastor in UK is time-unconscious! Members have accepted “fate”, and say,”it’s a Nigerian thing!”

Ha! That was how it started years back, when after 2 or 3 hours of service, we would go and wait under the trees in the car park. (I bet my dad never knew this!)

A time-efficient church I used to attend about 5 years ago in Lagos now sends the weekly bulletin by email on Saturdays! That means you have the Sunday announcements before Sunday! In church they just mention 2 or 3 critical announcements and refer people to the announcements in their mailboxes! After-all, the youth without an email address is not likely to listen in church anyway!

3) I remember a book given to me to read by a former mentor. I cant remember the title nor the author. But I remember that he says he would rather preach 4 topics in one whole year and be sure of effective communication, than preach 52 messages that no member of his church could confidently exude or discuss!

I tell my friends in the our online bible study group, “make only one point in your comment, or a maximum of two! After-all, what you know today, you did not learn in a single day!

Today many-a-church serves us various courses of word meals, which an hour after service, many members may not be able to recollect!

4) I interacted with a British girl, and she was interested in popping into church one of these days, but her parents just dint want anything to do with church!

I think that is the harvest from the seed of dogmatic following!

When Paul got to Athens, he reasoned with brainy people, and he convinced them! Today people interject “I don’t want to sin, let me not ask questions!” When did asking questions so you can have a basis for your beliefs and actions become sin?

For such, I think it is a matter of time. If there is an opportunity, they would flee from church, after-all, they don’t “kuku” understand what is happening!

We need to study God’s word, and be convinced!

We are expected to think! Paul wrote Titus and said “the reason why I left you in Crete…” Reason implies thinking!

He wrote the Romans, “Let every one be thoroughly convinced…”

convinced of what is right!

once upon my grandfather's church with a sunday chime!

once upon my grandfather’s church with a Sunday chime!

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4 Comments
  1. jjf permalink

    My mind has been engaged for a long time on the issue of empty pews and youth drift especially in Nigeria. My current visit to the USA and Canada afforded me the opportunity of a kind of ‘On the spot assessment’ of these issues in these North American countries. The situation seems to be the same every where!

    The first basic thing to understand is that the Church was the nerve centre of state, civic and economic development up to the time when development had gone far enough for people to start questioning the existence of God. Man appeared to have gained his freedom from God because of his mastery of the universe, theory of economics, technological inventios etc. But all these brought along with them much immorality that cry for curbing which only the Church was best positioned to do. Having tasted the so-called freedom however, it became an uphill task for the Church as then positioned to cope, especially as the old Churh leaders found it difficult to move their lithurgy, time management etc to align the the new trend and people’s time-consciousness etc. Our Church leadership needs to reassess its position in these areas, especially the vulnerable youth in the Church.

    But hngaid this thing the youth that have moved out of their mother Churches on various excuses are only fending for the founders of the w generation Churches they now attend; most are commercial outfits carved along religious lines as baits to attract the unsuspecting youth. If these youth had given only a little % of their time and other resources to their mother Churches as they give to their new places of worship, their mother churches would have been attuned to their youthful tastes.

    All told, since the Bible reminds us that it is only the fool who say in their hearts that there is no God, it is certain that God’s plan and purpose for His creation will be fulfilled.

    While it is expedient for the leaders of the various Churches to adjust their lithurgies, doctrines, modes of worship, quality of sermons, time management etc to meet the tempo and taste of today – the reason why we have various translations of the Bible, the believing youth ‘on the run’ should return to their roots. This will ensure that pulpits/pews are no longer going empty and Cathedrals are not being bought for secular purposes.

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  2. Hello, i always look forward to your blog posting……………..always thought provoking. Is it possible to join your online bible study group?

    Remain bless

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  3. tolu okeleye permalink

    i think we have left the real thing and following after shadows.There is a need for us to go back to the word of God and understand the reason for the CHURCH.Again, every generation as its peculiar challenges which ministers of the gospel needs to know so as to know how to present the gospel to them. The methods that applied and worked in the 15th century will not work in the 21st century and all these dynamics can be attended to if we truly follow the leading of the Holy spirit through the word of God. God cant be deficient of ideas and solutions to human problems! It is our responsibilty to download these thoughts and release them in usable forms for our generation. God has given us his Spirit to teach us all things
    1Co 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
    And we are the light and salt of the earth
    Mat 5:13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
    Mat 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
    Mat 5:15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
    Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
    With these points, i submit that the solutions to the world’s problem lies within us and the world is waiting…
    Rom 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
    Rom 8:19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
    Rom 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
    Rom 8:21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

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