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The true church is one where Christ is acknowledged as its Head, the Bible is preached and taught, and the way of salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's death and bodily resurrection...
S. Michael. A textbook answer from yourself concerning the local church and it's come and go status potential. Thank you. My answer to why some churches thrive and others die is one word. "LEADERSHIP" Church leadership has to have all your points down -PLUS emotional maturity- PLUS the desire and ability to serve. (Don't underestimate this one.) Far too many elders are looking for perks and power. Titles like Dr. and Reverend may be just that--titles on paper. Churches are dying when their leader is less than Christ-like in their personal life--When their leaders are too busy building their personal empires to care about the Kingdom of God--when status and rank mean more than humility and servitude.This is true for denominations as well. (I Peter 5:1-4) Now, the next question is, "how many churches actually want this kind of leader?" The answer is, probably not many. People of God, bound by fleshly attitude and belief, who want to create a powerful figurehead who makes themselves appear significant will themselves get what they want. This vicarious sharing of control and short-lived appearance of authority will run it's course to a certain death. (II Timothy 3:1-5) Vance Havner said that a committee is the unqualified-- nominated by the unwilling to do the unnecessary. I say that most committees spring up as an antivirus to unqualified and abusive leadership. The problem is, committees are a part of the problem. You have people who can quote Roberts Rules but couldn't finish one quote from the lips of Jesus. Now you often have 11 divested empires and selfish ambition run away. Plus, you have to wait 30 days or more to get anything done. Such nonsense has split, cajoled and strangled many a church. Only a man of God who will selflessly stand true to Jesus and his gospel can weather such moroseness and watch God transform these sheep who have gone leaderless for too long. My question is, "Why does the Lord tolerate such miss-management?" Because he loves his bride, the church, and every one of us in it. Even with our selfish and immature motives, he patiently perfects the work he began inside of us at the moment of our new-birth. With or without us; because of us or in spite of us---God will build his church.
Some churches grow because they scratch itching ears, ie. Tell people what they want to hear instead of preaching the Word as Paul tells pastor Timothy in his second letter. Many churches that are faithful to the gospel and Christ shrink because the message of Christianity is not a popular one, it is offensive and in today's world, offending someone is one of the unforgivable sins. Then again some churches grow that are truly preaching Christ and some shrink because they don't preach Christ. We have growth and shrinkage for both the faithful an unfaithful. With today's culture I would say more weight and emphasis is put on the preacher, his personality, charisma, public speaking abilities, sense of humor and wit than the content of what he preaches, that is the real determining factor for whether a church or "church" grows.
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