What has happened to the church? What was supposed to be a safe haven for individuals to find Christ has become a commercialized setting where in many cases people seem to be “paying for salvation.” Many Christians feel as if the “world” is consuming the church and people are losing their faith.
As a PK (preachers kid) I have been in and around churches my entire life. I have learned how churches operate and its purpose within the community. I have been to countless church services and bible studies. It was a major part of my life. Leaving home has allowed me to experience different churches and people. Being exposed to many different people from different backgrounds has caused me to take a closer look at the institution.
Many people wonder why the church is losing traction within communities. I have a few proposed reasons.
The Hypocrisy: Many people are turned away from the idea of church because they see deceit within the four walls. The woman shouting and dancing on Sunday morning often times is the same person that looks the other way when a person that is “not like them” walks down the street. Or they find that the infamous church deacon is a little friendly with his “God Bless You.” When I was a child, I used to see these things and think, “omg they are supposed to be holy.” However, as I got older I realized that church folks are not any different than anyone else. At the end of day, I see no reason to pretend. People care more about their public perception than how God views them.
Narrow-mindedness: Another reason people are turned off from the church is because of their intolerance and close mindedness. People are unwilling to accept anything that is different from the status quo. Some pastors preach hate from the pulpit. This intolerance and hate seeps into public interest and politics. (This is why I firmly believe in the separation of church and state.) Many people form their political views based on their religious leanings. The problem is if this is to be a country with the freedom of religion, how are we to base our policy on the religion of one or any. Many Christians believe that morally disagreeing with an issue requires you to deny a person the right to do it. These two are not interchangeable. Politicians use this rhetoric to turn votes based on irrational intolerance and xenophobia (ie. Donald Trump).
This is especially true within the black church. Some black churches have so much controversy within, that they cannot even begin to appeal to people outside of the church. This is due to denominational beliefs and traditional strongholds. Black Christians are some of the most socially conservative people in the country. It seems as if we have social, political, and economic amnesia.
*Also, people allow mainstream media to determine which issues they should be passionate about which creates an election tailored a prevailing issue.
Many churches turn away congregants because of their sheer desire of more. The formation of “megachurches” has changed the institution of church. The church seems to have become a Fortune 500 company in which the CEO (pastor) ensures that things operate according to plan. Preachers preach hope while living in larges houses and driving expensive cars, while their congregation slips further and further into economic depression and stagnant lives. It is reminiscent of the Pre-Reformation Catholic churches use of indulgences and relics in order to exploit Christians of their money
The church must look internally to make sure they are truly fulfilling the purpose that God has called the church to operate within. People are drawn to sincerity. The church must acknowledge its shortcomings and seek to correct them if it is to ever regain people who have lost faith in the institution.