Monday, February 28, 2011

The Methodist Church of Today....

Like a straw that finally breaks the camel's back, it hit me last night as Cindy and I conversed over dinner.  Do you know that, for several years now, our church has encouraged membership by allowing new members to join in the church office---not in front of the congregation? 

This is astounding.  This is one symptom of many that the Methodist church is in trouble.  Do you know that this church, with such a proud heritage, has seen its national membership fall to a level on a par with its membership during the 1940s?  This, while the U. S. population has increased by well over 100% in the same time frame.

Our church---and many other Methodist churches---is now so desperate for membership that it does not require an appearance in front of the congregation by prospective new members.  Apparently, standing in front of fellow Christians for two minutes and saying "I will" and "I do" is just way too intimidating for a whole lot of folks.

My questions are these: 

---I know the church is a "business" and needs members, but what kind of members do you have when they are afraid to proclaim their faith in front of others? 

---Does it matter that members of the church not know when someone has joined?

---What does this policy of "sneaking in the back door" say about our individual committments to our faith?

This policy galls me.  It is a horrible thing.  Apparently the church feels that it is important to get members any way it can, and making it "easy" is the way to go to achieve that.

The church is wrong (refer to the abysmal membership growth numbers above).  The reason the church is dying is BECAUSE of this kind of approach.  The church needs to stand for something, and needs for its members to stand for something.

The Muslim faith has exploded in growth.  Agree with Muslims or disagree with them; the fact is that they KNOW what they believe  and practice it and proclaim it loudly.  We could all learn from their example in this regard.

To be fair, it is not just the Methodist church that is declining---basically, all "main-line" Protestant denominations are on the wane.  And there are many reasons for that---but this business of joining the church on the sly is too much.

Contrast this with the fervor of the early disciples:

---Apostle Paul...beheaded
---Judas...suicide by hanging
---James, son of Alphaeus...stoned to death
---James, son of Zebedee...beheaded
---John...died of old age
---Thomas...killed by impalement
---Simon the Zealot (Jude)...died of old age

We know from various sources ( such as Paul's letters and Pliny's letters to Trajan) that all these Christians needed to do to avoid a horrible execution was to denounce their Christian faith.

And now you can join the church by sneaking in the back door, without even a public proclamation of your loyalty and belief.


  1. ♪ ♫ Stand up, Stand up for Jesus!
    The strife will not be long ... ♫ ♪ ♪

  2. Dear Clint,
    many people still believe in Christianity, but are not agree with what the Church makes of it.

    Greetings Sabine

  3. This is sad indeed. Very good observations. It seems like things are changing quickly these days. But it's been a slow process. Thanks for standing up! God bless.

  4. You raised some good issues here Clint, Church to me is to praise God, about money I am not so sure.


  5. Hmm, interesting post, Clint. I agree with you: whether or not you stand up in front of the church shouldn't factor into your decision to become a member. We should live our faith radically and boldly!

    However, I am personally not a big fan of the general concept of church membership. I am going to pick a church and commit to supporting it financially and through my volunteer time whether or not I sign some sort of piece of paper saying I am a "member." I wish more people would just GET INVOLVED instead of worrying about membership.

    So yeah, great post! Thanks.

  6. You don't have to stand up behind the things they do, but you still can believe in God.

    Sunny greetings und blessings

  7. Hi Clint -

    Ref: Membership
    That is news that is quite disturbing.

    You are right about the Muslims. They are known for their passion. And when they come to Christ, they are passionate about our Lord.

    We need to have souls that follow hard after our Lord - Psalm 63:8 - KJV.

  8. Hi Clint,
    Unfortunately the church in America is growing cold. We need to be preaching the full Word of God and He will build our church. Mans methods do not work. Jesus's does. I have heard of many testimones from 3rd world nations where the church is growing inspite of the fact becoming a Christian can cost you your life. The other day I heard a program on the radio where they said people in Iran are getting tired of Islam and they are coming to Christ.

    Thank you for your much appreciated comments on my blog post "Lord, Help Me Understand."

    God bless you,