I am pumped about this upcoming Sunday! C.J. Cauble and our Ridgestudents will be leading us in worship. C.J. and the student worship band are ready to go! We will also recognize our graduates on their fine accomplishment. Later that Sunday evening we'll gather at O'Neal Village to enjoy banana splits and an outdoor movie. I encourage you to invite your family and friends to the great time of fellowship we'll have Sunday night. It's a great way to build relationships and share the love of Jesus with many people! It's going to be a great Sunday morning and evening!
Okay, before the hate mail comes, let me explain. Just read some excerpts from the book, The American Church in Crisis. Please let this sink in:
"More than 91 million people live in the United States today who did not live here 16 years ago. 70 million of them are under the age of 17. (factoring in birth rate and immigration). In no single state did church attendance keep up with population growth. The states with the greatest decline were in the New England region."
"We need 3,205 new churches every year to keep up with American population growth. That number is 10 times higher than the actual net gain of churches."
"3,700 church closings and 4,000 church starts each year. Net gain of 300. We need 3,205 just to keep up with population growth."
Ten Reasons to Plant Churches
Large majority of Americans do not attend churches.
New churches are more effective than established churches at conversion growth. 3-4 times the conversion rate of existing churches.
New churches are more effective to reach ethnic populations as it's more difficult for existing churches to become more diverse.
New churches are historically the best method for reaching the emerging generation.
New churches are a test lab for lay leadership. People often report that helping launch a church was the most spiritually significant part of their faith journey.
New churches provide research and development for the Church.
New churches provide a channel to express the energy and ideas of passionate, innovative young pastors. Denominations need stabilizers and innovators.
New churches can sustain growth for the next forty years
New churches provide synergistic benefits to established churches. Denominations that plant many strong churches have more healthy, growing and established churches.
New churches lower the age profile of the American church, increase its multiethnicity and better position the whole church for future changes.
Predictions for 2020
Population attending Christian church on any weekend will drop from 17.5 percent to 14.7 percent.
55,000 churches will close between 2005 and 2020, while 60,000 new churches will open. Net gain of 4,500 churches, though the population will require 48,000 new churches.
Evangelical church attendance will be 8.5 percent.
"Whoever wants to save their life will lost it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." – existing churches must embrace this teaching of Jesus.
I believe Milo and Erin Wilson made an incredibly selfless decision to lose their lives for Christ and go to Buffalo, New York in helping with a new church. I believe church planting is one of the most important things churches must be doing as they make disciples. I look forward to interviewing Milo and Erin Sunday on the great things happening at The Well Church and how our dollars are being used to reach people in this heavily unchurched area. I also look forward to hearing Milo share our final message in the Parenthood series as he tackles the issue of discipline.
Our Parenthood series continues this Sunday as we open up one of the most known stories in the Bible, the Prodigal son of Luke 15. We will see that God understands the pain all of us go through when someone we love rebels against God. From this story in Luke 15, we will learn some principles we can apply in reaching the prodigals in our lives whether they are a son, a daughter, a spouse, or a relative or friend.
What a special Sunday we are going to have this Mother's Day at Ridgeview. I am pleased to share that my friend Ruth McWhite, director of women's ministries at North Greenville University, will be our speaker. Ruth is a dynamic speaker and will touch your heart with her love for the Lord and love for His Word. As we are in the middle of our Parenthood series, Ruth will speak directly to our mothers this Sunday. She speaks from experience as a mother who has kids both in school and who are married. You will be encouraged!
Also, I look forward to sharing a children's message with our Ridgekidz in the worship service and they will be singing a worship song they've worked on to present this Sunday. There's even going to be some motions to it! It's going to be a great day! Hope to see you then!