I have been watching Reverse Missionaries on the good old BBC. I'm grateful that they have put such a program on particularly as the voice over is not disparaging. And it shows the impact of missionaries who followed Gods vision for them.
However, the beginning of each programme it shows a church that is defeatist. It won't work here! When we're gone there won't be a church!
I just wondered if this is what you see in your local churches.
Just had a quick peek on sample on YouTube. While I'm not from the UK, I actually don't doubt this is happening not just in the UK, but around the world.
Here in Canada, I serve and attend an ethnic Baptist Church (Chinese). Way way back, many years ago the land which we built our church on was given to us for a $1 from our neighbor a establish Baptist Church, so we could build a building that would assist us with our ministry. It was an amazing gift, since in today's $ I don't we'd be able to afford this prime real-estate. Now fast forward about 25 years, we outgrew the land, so we bough two more small houses next, which we converted into Sunday school rooms, then later levels so we could expand our building. We now house 5 services split between English Speaking, Cantonese Speaking and Mandarin Speaking congregations. I think between all 3 congregations we probably have close to a 1,000 people come through our doors every Sunday.
However, unfortunately, the church next door is suffering. At the low point, I think they have barely double-digit for their single Sunday Server. The congregation was much like shot of small church in season 1, episode 1 where there were only one row of members, all very elderly. To be honest, it was a sad state, as the church was being rented out during the week to help offset costs, couldn't really afford a full-time minister and was in very realistic risk of being closed and sold off.
Over the last few years we've instituted a program where we've seeded few young families next store to offer a more permanent solution. That's very much a on-going process, but for the meantime, the talks of selling the church seems to have been put on hold.
However, while there are a lot of macro-reason why this might have happened to this once-thriving church, from what I've gathered, there are many micro-reasons why this happened here. The most crucial is that this church just didn't keep up with the times. They had a very strict policy of organ lead hymns and basically just never changed. Those who wanted change were forced to leave and look elsewhere. Eventually the core, which was the majority, never adapted and over time literally aged and went to be with the Lord.
It's all very sad. Churches need to stay relevant (be in the world), but not compromise (be of the world). I think that would apply anywhere in the world.