It’s hard to believe, but it was over ten years ago. Our family was out of town. While we were away, we went to a service at a church that was very different than our church. We had three kids at the time. All three were under the age of ten.
Our kids were used to ministry environments with lots of energy, today’s music, video, relevant teaching and lots and lots of new people (including many of their friends). So, needless to say, I was very interested to see how they would respond to this experience.
The church we visited had been around for over 100 years. You could tell that at one time the church was very vibrant with many young families. By the time we visited, though, there were very few people our age. The facility was dated. The music was very traditional. And the message was boring for my kids…and for me.
Like I said, this was ten years ago. My son, Jacob, was only six at the time. As we were walking out of the church together after the service, Jacob tugged on my sleeve to get my attention. Then he quietly said what everyone else in the family was thinking, “Dad, this church is never going to grow.”
The sad thing is my six-year-old son was right. The church was dying. Rather than make some intentional changes to reach the next generations of families in the community, they were preserving the past. I’m assuming it’s another example of people placing a higher value on personal preferences and comfort than on reaching people for Jesus.