The Local Church is Failing

Here’s a bold statement: the local church is failing. Local Christian churches just aren’t “winning”.

I make that statement with all due respect to the many incredible men and women of God leading the church today. But let’s be honest…as a whole, Christian churches are hurting.

Allow me to elaborate…

  • Every year 4,000 churches close their doors (source). In fact, some people believe 8,000-10,000 churches closed their doors in 2013 (source)
  • 50% of all churches didn’t add new members between 2010 and 2012 (source)
  • Only 20% of churches are growing today. And out of those 20%, a majority of them are “borrowing” members from other churches (it’s called transfer growth).

church borrowing jpeg

  • In an average year, 1/2 of all existing churches will not add a single new member through what’s called conversion growth – when someone comes to faith in Jesus Christ
  • The United States is the #1 country for receiving missionaries (source)
  • 3,500 people leave the church every day
  • The United States is one of the least churched nations in the world (source)
  • The number of churchless Americans has doubled in the last 20 years
  • Out of those who don’t attend church in America, 75% said it was because they either, “find God elsewhere” or because, “church isn’t relevant to me personally.”
  • Millennials are leaving the local church in droves (source)

(Additional sources for you fact-checkers: source1, source2, source3, source4. Sobering thought: those figures include Catholic churches, Protestant churches, Mormon churches, 7th Day Adventists, etc.)

Looking at all the church statistics above, I wonder how many Americans are going to a growing church. Out of that number, how many have a church that’s healthy? Out of that smaller number, how many have a church that’s experiencing conversion growth? How many people go to that type of church and walk away uplifted, encouraged and challenged? How many are actually looking forward to a weekend experience at church?

WOW. Folks, we are failing. There’s no way around it.

I don’t have a desire to try and explain why I believe the church is declining. That would take years and isn’t where I’m going with this blog.

I made that bold claim and seek to shed light on the issue because I believe that The Edge Church will be an agent of change that will reach Wake County for Jesus Christ.

Did you read that last sentence? It’s pretty important and I believe it’s as big as my opening statement. I believe that The Edge Church will buck the trend, experience conversion growth, draw a younger, diverse crowd and be a source of strength and inspiration to many. I believe that The Edge Church will strengthen marriages, benefit local communities, equip and bless parents and support outreach and government programs.

How are we going to do that? In a world that’s increasingly hostile toward Christians and the local church, how can we be an agent of change?

By living out our mission: accepting people where they are and taking them where God wants them to be.

accepting people where they are taking them where God wants them to be

That’s what God has called The Edge Church to do and to be. That’s who we are. That’s what we’re about. That’s our mission.

How are we going to accomplish that mission? By staying true to who God has called us to be as a local church. It takes strategy, intentionality, humility and so much more for us to accomplish everything God has in His heart for us to achieve.

There are a dozen core principles that we embody. Stay tuned for a post on them.

But for now…we have to admit that something needs to change. We can do better.