According to Lifeway resources
“In 2019, approximately 3,000 Protestant churches were started in the U.S., but 4,500 Protestant churches closed."
In my area (Leesburg, Florida) there are many churches that closed during covid and never reopened. Most of the churches were not close to Baptist doctrine, let alone Independent Baptist. The Calvinist movement has infiltrated virtually every denomination, and bred a spirit of laziness in the Christian world that feels there is no need for evangelism. Without evangelizing the lost, the church is dead, so there is no wonder so many churches are dying.
I am not as concerned with the Protestant church statistics, since we are not Protestant; We are Biblicist. My concern is that laziness has infiltrated our churches and Bible colleges, creating a mood of status quo. Apathy is the identification of the Laodicean church. We have churches that want in-reach ministries that minister to those inside the church, but little or no obligation to minister to those outside the church.
When our ministries reflect an inward focus, we need revitalized.
When our prayer requests reflect and inward focus only, we need revitalized.
When our sermons are focus on those in the pews instead of those in the highways, we need revitalized.
When our missions budget is full, but our personal evangelism budget is empty, we need revitalized.
According to Lifeway, the average Protestant church in America runs sixty-five people. I have heard the statistic that the average Independent Baptist Church runs fifty or less. According to pewresearch.org ninety percent of our Independent Baptist churches are third generation Christians, and six percent are second generation. This means that only 4% are newly converted first generation Christians.
When the people in our pews represent in-reach to our families only, instead of a lost world, we need revitalized.
The fruit we bear tells the story of our compassion. When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion. Too many church leaders are only moved when the crowd is up. Jesus’ compassion was for the lost in the Highways and Hedges, not the crowds in the pew. I recently preached on compassion and described it as “Caring with Passion”. We have various interests that we care about, but display little passion over. Our passions will dictate our fruit, whether it be spiritual or carnal. As believers, we all have fruit, but it often is carnal fruit instead of spiritual fruit. Philippians 4 gives us a list of things to dwell on that will help produce the right fruit. Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are true, … honest, … just, …pure, … lovely, … of good report; … think on these things.
As the pastor of New Life Baptist Church, I have a passion for missions, but that is not the main focus. I am passionate about quality ministries for those inside the church family, but that is not our main thrust. My desire is to have young men and ladies leaving our church and preparing for a lifetime of full-time service, as well as faithful laymen in their church. In order to accomplish this, it will take years of cultivating an atmosphere where this is the normal, not the dream.
Pastor Greg Wilmore New Life Baptist Church 10035 Poe Street Leesburg, Florida 34788 (352) 728-0004 NLBCLeesburg.com