Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Make Our Churches Great Again

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jan 25, 2017
A theme we have been hearing frequently is, “Make America Great Again.” We would all like to see a greater America and hopefully this vision will be realized. However, America will not be great again unless our churches become great again. Colonial America became strong and independent because of the moral fiber of its early citizens. We must not forget the findings of the French philosopher Alexis De Tocqueville upon his visit to America. 
Alexis De Tocqueville said he came to the United States to learn what magic quality enabled a handful of people to defeat the mighty British Empire twice in 35 years. He looked for the greatness of America in her harbors and rivers, her fertile fields and forests, mines and other natural resources. He studied America's schools, her Congress, and her Constitution without comprehending America's power. Not, until he went into the churches of America and heard pulpits "aflame with righteousness" did he understand the secret of her genius and strength. De Tocqueville returned to France and wrote: "America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."
The Bible confirms the demise of every nation that forgets God. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” -- Psalm 9:17. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” -- Proverbs 14:34. But America is in trouble because our churches are in trouble. Researchers tell us that from 1900 AD to 2000 AD the number of churches declined by fifty percent while the population increased by more than four hundred percent. A 2014 study indicated that over 1.2 million people would leave church in 2015. Many of the existing churches are experiencing lethargy and compromise has become the means of operation. Of the 250,000 Protestant churches in America, 200,000 are either stagnant (with no growth) or declining. Considering the diminished size and strength of modern day churches it is abundantly clear they have lost that flame of righteousness they once had. Even many of our fundamental churches are stagnant, declining or compromising. There is a great need to make our churches great again.
Must we stand by helplessly while this trend continues? NO! Let’s make our churches great again. But, how do we do that and what does it mean for our churches to be great? The world’s definition is not usually the same as God’s definition. Many would define great by the size of a church’s building, the magnitude of the budget, the personality of the leader, the programs for the families or by the church’s attendance. These measures are not necessarily a true indicator of greatness. We must define great by God’s definition. A great church is a church that brings glory to God by the preaching of the gospel, by defending the Word of God, by demonstrating genuine love through a spirit of revival. There are great churches at a country crossroad that have never missed the mark and they are doing a great work without national notoriety.
Those who are old enough to remember the early days of the fundamental movement can easily recall the spirit of revival that existed among many churches. It was not uncommon for grown men to stand in front of the church weeping while testifying of God’s life changing power. Revivals began with teenagers involved in serious prayer and experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. At one time churches were growing, souls were being saved, leaders were being trained, churches were being planted and a real passion for souls existed. Churches must return to the simple truths that brought about these might works. 
In 1870 John Broadus stated, “Ecclesiastical history has tended to follow this cyclical pattern. Church expansion through strong preaching – organization – stabilization – crystallization in forms of worship – decline of preaching and loss of spiritual objective – it can only be changed by revival and renewed expansion of strong preaching.
There are two keys that will reverse the current trend downward. First there must be vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” -- Proverbs 29:18. The biggest reason churches do not grow is because they do not want to grow. Leaders must accept the challenge of the Great Commission to preach the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. We must be able to see souls lost in darkness and without hope and makes plans to reach them with the gospel.
A second key to making our churches great again is the right leadership. A leader does not take a survey to discover what millennials want or endeavor to make the church relevant. Instead, he follows the pattern given in the book of Acts. God’s way still involves serious prayer, soul-winning and a faithfulness to preach the Word of God without compromise. A leader leads instead of following the trend of the day. Often he stands alone and in the face of opposition, yet he stands firm on his beliefs. A great leader will challenge people to great prayer, great witnessing and great holiness. There is no substitute for God’s power. Without His power the church is like wells without water and clouds without rain. Let’s make our churches great again by following the principles of the Word of God!