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Sterile churches

A quote from the book, Why Men hate Going To Church: “One New Year’s Eve I asked my pastor a very straight forward question: ‘How many adults came to faith in Christ at our church this year?’ The pastor, a very diplomatic man, said, ‘I am not sure. I’ll have to get back to you on that.’ But he…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

A quote from the book, Why Men hate Going To Church: “One New Year’s Eve I asked my pastor a very straight forward
question: ‘How many adults came to faith in Christ at our church this year?’
The pastor, a very diplomatic man, said, ‘I am not sure. I’ll have to get back
to you on that.’ But he and I knew the answer. It was zero.”

“I added it up. That year our
church conducted 104 regularly scheduled worship services, 7 special services,
some 250 adult classes, 600 committee meetings and 1,000 small-group meetings
and ran through a $750,000 budget to produce exactly zero new adult followers
of Jesus Christ. We gathered. We worshiped. We loved each other. But we
produced no crop. Our church was a contraption worthy of Rube Goldberg: lots of
sound, motion, fury to produce a tiny amount of fruit. . . How do we conceal
this scandalous lack of productivity? Some clever churches have simply changed
the definition of crop. Churches now judge success by the standards of a family
reunion. How many people came and did everyone get along?”

The challenge to all of us is, “Are we listening to Him, and when He
speaks are we obeying?”

Comments (8)

  • And why would only men hate going to church in light of the above quote? Talk about stirring up the groans inside over the state of the “church”!

  • Wow… compelling facts to spur our prayer times! Make our lives and communities of faith more fruitful, Father…

  • Okay, but what I’m wrestling with lately is how we defer responsibility to the church to “save” people. Shouldn’t we be doing that in our homes, offices, etc. and then bring to to church to be a gathering of believers?

  • I have to agree with Laurie. The job of the pastor is to equip the saints. The man’s question should be “What am I doing to bring others to Christ?” Or maybe “Is the pastor not equipping the saints to share their faith?” But if the saints are equipped and sitting around content in their own world, that is breaking the heart of Christ. I often think the bigger picture is what lies are we believing. The lies that we believe are normally what is stopping us from sharing are faith. Do we really get what Christ has done for us? Have we bought the lie that potential rejection is not worth it? Have we decided that we can only trust Christ with parts of our lives? Do we believe that we can be our own Lord and follow Christ too? The traps that I fall into have to do with my own selfish desires, and not really believing that Christ will be my all. Mentally I can give ascent that I believe that but when I examine why I am not doing things that I should be, I realize that like Eve I often buy the lies of Satan. “Did God really say….?” But I need to replace those doubts with the truth. Yes God did say… Yes, I can trust him. Yes, He will speak to me if I slow down to listen, and Yes, I will surrender and obey my God. And when I do maybe I will understand more fully just what abundant life is and God can use me to bring others to Him. There is nothing more incredible that seeing God change a life.

  • Hi Seth. Your insight is on the mark….

    “Noise” and the need to posess “things” are the mainline heroin of a church which is stumbling around looking for a Saviour but forgets that He came already. And I/we are to blame. We made the Gospel a commodity, sold it as shallow “stuff” and looked for our next gig and book deal.

    It can change. And it will. Thanks for being real.

  • Thanks Seth! That you’re readin’ up on the church and concerned too. A friend of mine recommended Dear Church: Letters from a disillusioned generation. Good, but a tough read when you really get down and dirty with the questions they pose to you after each chapter. My heart’s kinda there now. I’m back home and have heard of dead churches or even believers not being filled. I feel called in that direction now – bein’ a light and an encouragment to them. Kinda different for me but I just wanna listen, I just wanna obey.

  • but what about people´s feelings? aren´t you concerned about offending people? I don´t think Jesus offended anyone. He was nice. Haven´t you ever heard of tolerance?

    Ha. just kidding. how is it spelled? coj…?

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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