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 Crumbling Congregations

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[i]The former First Pentecostal Church, vacant for more than a decade and slated for demolition, stands just a mile away from a second church in Spring Mills, Pa., that's for sale.[/i]

SPRING MILLS, Pa. -- The stained glass windows are being removed from the old First Pentecostal Church, now falling apart in this central Pennsylvania village. Less than a mile away, a "For Sale" sign sits outside the century-old St. Mark's Lutheran Church.

But just down Pennsylvania Route 45, two reunited congregations credit a growth spurt to a new building.



Across the country, rural churches are struggling to maintain their congregations while facing a tough fact -- it's hard to get new members in old churches.


"Part of the problem with rural churches is that old buildings don't appeal to young couples," said Robert Seater, pastor for New Horizon United Church of Christ in Wisconsin, recently created from three congregations in rural Sheboygan and Washington counties. New Horizon hopes to build a new church and sell the three older buildings.


"They're living in homes that are $150,000, $300,000 homes, and they don't want a building that just has a bare basement for their kids' Sunday school," Seater said. "If the church is going to meet the needs of the 21st century, we're going to have to do something with these buildings."


Garth Brown, the council president for New Hope Lutheran Church in Spring Mills, said the same situation existed here.

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This may seem like a news item that is not that worthy to be prayed over but the fact of the matter is there is a disregard over the religion of our fathers and with this disregard is a reformation of a new God of their own imaginations. True relgion from above is being replaced with a selfish, humanistic religion that is for the satisfying of the flesh. Buildings are not the issue but adherance to the worldliness that prevades seekers of Truth in our day.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/5/30 13:32Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Crumbling Congregations

Quote:
This may seem like a news item that is not that worthy to be prayed over but the fact of the matter is there is a disregard over the religion of our fathers and with this disregard is a reformation of a new God of their own imaginations. True relgion from above is being replaced with a selfish, humanistic religion that is for the satisfying of the flesh. Buildings are not the issue but adherance to the worldliness that prevades seekers of Truth in our day.



Amen. I would direct our eyes to the quote at the very top right of this page.


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Mike Balog

 2004/5/30 14:06Profile
matthew
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Joined: 2004/4/22
Posts: 57


 Re: Crumbling Congregations

Amen,

I whole-heartedly agree...You have very simply (and clearly) stated the problem. What :-? has been confounding me for some time now is what PRACTICAL action can I take?!?

There is so much that needs be done...I teach, and have been given the oportunity to ask many of the kids many deep questions. I am so greived by the faith of the next generation...thir theology has so many fundemental errors. Are we to pray in our closets and do nothing until we are told? Even as I type, perhaps my confusion comes from my unfaithfulness in my closet.

How I wish there were a formulaic answer...is there? (I suspect not)

matthew


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matthew bauer

 2004/6/1 15:52Profile
Rahman
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Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


 Re: Crumbling Congregations


Bro. Greg you posted:


"They're living in homes that are $150,000, $300,000 homes, and they don't want a building that just has a bare basement for their kids' Sunday school," Seater said. "If the church is going to meet the needs of the 21st century, we're going to have to do something with these buildings."


In retrospect I'm glad to have been raised in lowly means, surrounded by everyday folk, and knowing what it's like to eat beans (and like them, because my mom is a genius in the kitchen).

I've often wondered after hearing Bro. Ravenhill say that "the early church was electryfying, the modern church electronic", just how many folk would continue to come to church if there was no longer air conditioning, plush seats, dual big screen monitors, microphones, and all the other modern technological power that we've managed to replace the good ole Holy Ghost with ... Many of we Christian's certainly have become snooty and snobby when it comes to our church building, but have let our bodies, His true temple, fall into shambles ... But I have to admit, I too have been spoiled by new building amenities.

With such misplaced priorities, how can we not expect a corrective shaking?

 2004/6/3 16:04Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Many of we Christian's certainly have become snooty and snobby when it comes to our church building, but have let our bodies, His true temple, fall into shambles




Amen! I heard a preacher say once that if you smoke outside in the parking lot you might as well smoke in the church building. Why? Because the church building is not the Temple. What would be even worse is to have the Temple filled with all the images of Ezekiel 8 and then profane it as did Beltshazzar. Lots of warnings in the NT not to abuse our bodies- especially morally.

There are 3 churches near my home for sale and boarded up. What has happened? In my experience churches are running such low attendance that to criticize the churches is to criticize a nearly empty building. Those who ARE left in a lot of these old churches are older folk in their 70's and 80's. Where are the youth? Where are 3 generations of people?

Beloved, we are in a crisis.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/6/3 16:33Profile
smichael
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Joined: 2004/5/23
Posts: 21


 Re: Crumbling Congregations

two problems here:
1st People are only thinking of the physical, as if it will last forever. They are not thinking in terms of who they are in Christ Jesus.
2nd humanism and entertainment has corrupted the church to the degree that the Holy Spirit cannot endorse a lie. People are hungry for God to move in His sovereign power. They want to hear the true gospel preached with power, and then followed by confirming signs and wonders. We are lousey at entertainment. Hollywood does it better. Humanism corrupts the gospel message to the point that it is not recognizable as the God's truth but man's corruption.

So our churches are country clubs. I want the newest and best facility for my affordable country club.

 2004/6/3 23:56Profile
Rahman
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Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


 Re:


Ouch! ... smichael, you posted:

((( We are lousy at entertainment. Hollywood does it better.)))

Wow did you nail it right here! ... I was thinking about this subject last night, likening some plush new church facilities to high tech cinema complexes, except the (physical) lights are kept on, and instead of movies we watch a well choreographed, timed to the tee, psuedo-theological production (forgive me Lord if I'm a little to harsh here) ... In all the years I've been saved (25) I've only been in one Holy Ghost led service, and it was in that service that the Lord began to speak to me ... It was the most beautiful service I've ever been in ... it wasn't in a fancy church building ... there was no music ... just people secumbing to the work of the Holy Ghost (Christ being lifted up), and both saved and unsaved alike surrendering to His power ... Now that I'm writing this I've just realized that He gave me a glimpse of what true REVIVAL is! ... Praise God, had I not answered you this morning I would not have realized this ... Amazing how the Holy Spirit works! ... Amen.

Christ as entertainment certainly doesn't work, and I find it nauseating that it's even atempted ... We don't have time to let the Holy Ghost have His time, but we can find time to slot in the praise dancers ...

If there are any praise dancers on this forum I'm not trying to offend, but it cringes my spirit everytime I have to sit thru such gyrations at my Sunday morning service ... Just call me "old fashioned" please!



 2004/6/4 7:38Profile





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