By Thom S. Rainer
The reports can be discouraging. The statistics can be demoralizing. The trends can be disheartening.
Year after year we hear about the dismal state of American congregations. We hear that the number of members connected to churches is down. We hear about declining conversion rates. We hear about change-resistant churches and discouraged pastors, staff, and laity.
And the bad news is not made up. It’s reality. The overall macro-trends in churches in America are simply not that great.
What seems to be missing, however, in most of our reports of reality, is a message of hope. Though the situation may seem bleak, we serve the one true God who always gives hope. Local churches may be down and discouraged at times, but God is not done with His Church.
I am an obnoxious optimist about American churches. I do not have my head in the sand, and I am not ignoring the dismal reports. Indeed, I have authored some of those reports. But, in the final analysis, I believe that most of our churches have a great future with great possibilities.
Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!