What’s Missing in So Many American Churches?
I recently watched a well-known mega-church service online. The guest speaker for the morning was an inspirational author who proceeded to crack jokes, ooze sentimental statements about God’s love, and offer up a feel-good pep talk for about 30 minutes. I felt heart-broken for the people sitting in the audience. Apparently, this kind of fare has become so common place (at this church), that the people don’t even realize that their leaders have been systematically starving them for some time.
Stanley Hauerwas, a Methodist theologian at Duke University Divinity School, is an insightful writer on Christianity and cultural issues. In a recent article entitled, “The End of American Protestantism,” Hauerwas writes this about American Christianity: “More Americans may go to church than their counterparts in Europe, but the churches to which they go do little to challenge the secular presumptions that form their lives or the lives of the churches to which they go.”
While no one person can judge all churches in America, there is powerful circumstantial evidence that what’s missing in so many American churches is rather simple: the Gospel! What’s missing is biblical preaching. What’s missing is the power and presence of God’s Spirit. What’s missing is a knowledge of who God is. The Psalms call us to weighty worship. The Epistles call us to weighty preaching. That is what’s missing in so much of American Christianity. This is the high and lofty vision for worship that God calls His people to in the pages of the Bible. And until churches get back to it, they will continue to decline and become less and less distinguishable from the culture around them.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor