In 1972 Dean M. Kelley released the results of a sociological study of religion titled, “Why Conservative Churches Are Growing,” the conclusion was because they were conservative.
But what does being “conservative” mean? It doesn’t mean conservative culturally, socially, ethically, or politically.
A new study from Wilfrid Laurier University and Redeemer University College in Ontario Canada concluded that the reason some churches decline while others grow is largely based on their theological beliefs. If the members of a church and its clergy embrace conservative theological beliefs, they tend to be growing. If they don’t, they tend to be in decline.
What we shouldn’t do is what declining churches do…blame society for the dropping interest in church/religion.
The reality is that growing churches hold more firmly to traditional Christian beliefs/doctrine and are more diligent in, or value prayer and Bible reading. They tend to take the Bible at face value as truth, and believe that God is alive and active in the world. These values are actuated within our churches being demonstrated by reality of demonstration. In other words, we do what we say we do!
This is reveled when asked; 93 percent of pastors in growing churches said they agree with the statement: “Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body, leaving behind an empty tomb.”
Declining churches? Only 56 percent.
Many would say: “My goodness! If you don’t believe that, what kind of Christianity are you advocating?”
My main point is…if we water down our faith so that it matches the world’s values and ideals, then we end up having nothing to offer the world that it does not already have.
We won’t get the attention of a post Christian world by voicing the convictions they already hold as true…the voice that gains the attention of the world will be convict them, being clear in its message, substantive, being really-real in its content, and bold in its challenge.