Church attendance, especially in churches that are already fairly small, is declining. Although a recent study revealed that the world’s largest churches are actually gaining in membership, for most average churches, the opposite is the case.
Thom S. Rainer gives some explanation for the trend of declining churches in his article “Five Reasons Why Churches are Dying and Declining Faster Today.”
While reading Rainer’s article I was reminded of a friend who graduated with a Biblical Studies degree and did a short stint of pastoral work at a small rural church in southwest Virginia. He and his wife were given the very difficult task of reviving a congregation that was dying out due to spiritual inactivity and an unwillingness to grow and change.
He eventually left his pastorate there. I’m not sure what happened to the congregation or if that church is still active.
Sadly, Rainer says this is the case for many churches, for a number of reasons.