Revitalizing a Local Church

Conference notes on how leaders and members can revitalize a church.

Each year, Southern Baptists birth 1,000 local churches per year and bury 900 local churches. Membership numbers at churches within the Southern Baptist Convention lag the population growth in the US. In part, this is because formerly Baptist churches no longer wish to be associated with the name Southern Baptist, which has unfortunate connections to American slavery.  Many of these churches change their names and continue with solid Biblical teaching as before. Christ is still being proclaimed, and there seems little reason for concern.

In America, sadly, fewer people, Protestant or Catholic, are attending church at all. Secularists rejoice, believing that religion is inherently bad.[1] Some hope that religious beliefs of all varieties will wane as science advances, personal freedom increases, and economic conditions improve around the world.[2] This hope is not new…people like Voltaire held it centuries ago.

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True to Each Other

In this lonely, painful world, how can we have deep, meaningful relationships? How can we be true to each other?

In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor shouts “et tu Brute?” when he sees his close friend, Marcus Junius Brutus, among his assassins.  Though most Americans are not plunging daggers into each other, relationships in the world, the United States, and even the Church are shriveling and dying. According to US Census Data in 2020, our population growth has slowed to its lowest point since the 1930s.[1]  Experts blame COVID and economic troubles, but this trend has been present for decades. Marriage is less common, and couples are having fewer children. People are having less sex, and even dating less. Research from the Barna Group indicates that Americans have fewer friends and higher levels of loneliness than in the past.[2] Elders are less lonely than Boomers, who are less lonely than Gen X, who are less lonely than millennials. The stereotypical image of a lonely widow in our culture may be less common than that of a lonely teenage girl.

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Will We Rise?

Christ Arose – Low in the Grave He Lay

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

He Lives

Thus reads the French inscription on the tomb of Edward the Black Prince, in Canterbury, England, who died in 1376.

Such as thou art, so once was I. As I am now, so shalt thou be.[1]

Whether written or not, such are the silent words of every man, woman, and child in every cemetery, every mausoleum, and every inch of land and sea in which a mortal has passed into immortality.

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Anger and the Christian

Should Christians be angry? What are the dangers of human anger, and how do we avoid them?

Several weeks ago, my son David was engaged in a discussion with a classmate about whether a Christian should ever be angry. My son argued that God shows anger and Paul writes “Be angry but do not sin (Ephesians 4:26).” His disputant suggested that God alone can be angry, but humans never should. Like many conversations, this one dragged on, with neither man convincing the other. David remained calm, but his counterpart did not. Resolving nothing, they parted company.

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