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Sharing Christ is what’s important

Each month, our news pages bring to light stories about churches’ plans and activities. By far, most of these stories are uplifting and encouraging; occasionally, some are not.
While millions on this planet don’t know Jesus as their Lord and are headed for eternal punishment, let’s be sure the church spends its energies and resources on taking the gospel throughout the world.
Across this nation, when Christians bicker and fight with each other, when churches split, when pride reigns, is it any wonder that others view the church of our Lord as weak and insignificant? Is it any surprise that they want no part of the Christian faith?
In 2007 The Christian Chronicle plans to direct our attention toward examining the state of church growth among Churches of Christ in the U.S. Few areas could be as vital to the kingdom as the spiritual and numerical growth or decline of our congregations.
American churches are not growing. Many are declining, even dying, and that is a grave issue that deeply concerns us all. While numbers should not be a goal in and of themselves, most consider them an indicator of how well we are carrying out the Great Commission. At one time, the myth circulated that Churches of Christ were the fastest-growing religious group in America. We now know that was never true.
Why are our churches, generally, not growing? What can be done to turn that around so that we regain the vision of dynamic churches that bless their communities? With expert help, we plan to address the issues and questions that we believe will unlock the door to future church growth among our congregations. And we encourage Churches of Christ to make this discussion a major focus in 2007.
We invite and welcome your comments and suggestions on this topic. Do you know of vibrant, growing congregations whose success stories might be an inspiration to all Churches of Christ? Do you know of programs or approaches that could help improve all of our evangelistic efforts? Do you have questions or issues that you would like us to address?
Please send your ideas and inquiries to us by e-mail at [email protected] with the subject line “Church Growth Feedback.”
Our popular two-year-old series Churches that Work highlights individual congregations that make a difference. These congregations creatively focus on reaching into their communities and the world with the gospel.
Does our focus on church growth mean that we believe all differences among Christians can be easily dismissed? No. But wherever differences are discussed — in venues formal and informal — let’s be sure they are undertaken with humility, wisdom, kindness, and respect. Above all, let us be certain that our differences never become the focus or the substance of our faith. Let us turn away from paths that lead nowhere except toward devilish discord. The main discussion of 2007 must fix our eyes on Jesus and renew our fervor for evangelism.
Let us become fully devoted followers of Christ whose light draws others toward the cross.

Filed under: Editorial Staff Reports

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