This morning, when I drove up to the church, there were two buzzards perched atop the steeple.
My first thought was, “What’s dead?”
My second thought, which humored me, was, “I sure hope it ain’t the church!”
Sadly, many churches are dead, or dying. Research reveals that 95% of the churches in America are in numerical decline. The so-called “mainline” Protestant denominations (Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian) have been struggling to maintain members for over three decades, while Southern Baptists baptize fewer converts than they did in the 1950’s.
Inside the walls of churches, other things are dying as well. Personal holiness is dying, as church goers now freely drink alcohol in public, live together outside of marriage and accept lifestyles which the Bible condemns.
Respect for the teachings of Scripture are dying, as personal preferences take precedence over what the Bible teaches. Milk-toast, watered-down sermons have replaced the bold preaching of the word of God. There are few biblical prophets left who will stand and proclaim: “Thus says the Lord.”
I don’t want the buzzards to gather around my steeple. I don’t want my church to die and I don’t want my convictions to die. When I went outside a few minutes ago, those stinking birds had left. I hope they don’t come back.