There is rarely a simple explanation for the decline of a church. It is often a complex mix of cultural, theological, attitudinal, and internal issues. In this article, I address the latter issue.
Internal barriers refer to those obstacles that are inherent in the organization and the facilities of the church. They are also called structural barriers. Stated simply, these barriers are self-imposed or self-inflicted.
Some of these barriers are long-standing and difficult to remove. Others, such as a redesigned website, can be accomplished with little pain.
Let’s look at the seven most common internal barriers in churches.
1. Facility Barriers.
2. Governance Barriers.
3. Staffing Barriers.
4. Cultural Barriers...
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/7-internal-barriers-to-church-growth-145701/#WqSxyUq9bC3ITx6S.99
” In 1940, churchgoing rates hovered around 40 percent; by the late 1950’s, they were close to 50 percent. Religious identification increased more rapidly than usual as well, with church membership growing almost twice as fast as population growth. In 1930, 47 percent of Americans were formally affiliated with a church or denomination; the number had risen to 69 percent in 1960. The prestige of religious leaders rose; for example, a poll from 1957 found that 46 percent of Americans described the clergy as the group „doing the most good” in the nation’s common life, easily outstripping politicians, businessmen, and labor leaders. Enrollments in seminaries and Sunday schools increased steadily, and there was a great surge in church construction: Americans spent $26 million on sacred architecture in 1945, $409 million in 1950, and a billion dollars in 1960…”
Bad Religion : How We Became A Nation Of Heretics – Ross Douthat, Free Press, 2012, 21,22p
” The definition of heresy proposed by Alister McGrath is a useful one: A Christian heresy is „best seen as a form of Christian belief that, more by accident than design, ultimately ends up subverting, destabilizing or even destroying the core of Christian faith”. But McGrath’s cautionary follow-up is also useful :”Both this proces of destabilization and the identification of its threat may be spread out over an extended period of time…”
Bad Religion : How We Became A Nation Of Heretics – Ross Douthat, Free Press, 2012, 9p
Bad Religion : How We Became A Nation Of Heretics – Ross Douthat, Free Press, 2012, 4,5p
” In this America,the ancient Christian teaching that the Scripture are simultaneously divinely inspired and open to multiple interpretations has become an either/or choise instead. You’re either a rigid fundamentalist who believes that dinosaurs just missed hitching a ride on Noah’s Ark, or a self-consciously progressive believer for whom the Bible is a kind of refrigerator magnet poetry, awaiting rearrangement by more enlightened minds. As a result, the Jesus of the New Testament, whose paradoxical mix of qualities and commandments presents a challenge to every ideology and faction, has been replaced in the hearts and minds of many Americans with a more congenial figure-a „chose your own Jesus” who better fits their own preconceptions about what a savior should and shouldn’t be…”
Bad Religion : How We Became A Nation Of Heretics – Ross Douthat, Free Press, 2012, 4p
„…The United States remains a deeply religious country, and most Americans are still drawing some water from the Christian well. but a growing number are inventing their own version of what Christianity means, abandoning the nuances of traditional theology in favor of religions that stroke their egos and indulge or even celebrate their worst impulses. These faiths speak from many pulpits-conservative and liberal, political and pop-cultural, traditionally religious and fashionably „spiritual”-and many of their preachers call themselves Christian or claim a Christian warrant. But they are increasingly offering distortions of traditional Christianity, not the real thing…”
Bad Religion : How We Became A Nation Of Heretics – Ross Douthat, Free Press, 2012, 3 p
” America has indeed become less traditionally Christian across the last.half century, just as religious conservatives insist, with unhappy consequences for our national life. But certain kinds of religious faith are as influential as ever , just as secular critics and the new atheists contend – and they’re right, as well, that to the extent that there’s an ongoing crisis in American culture, the excesses of the faithful probably matter more than the sins of unbelievers.
That’s because America’s problem isn’t too much religion, or too litle of it. It’s bad religion : the slow-motion collapse of traditional Christianity and the rise of variety of destructive pseudo-Christianities in its place. Since the 1960’s, the institutions that sustained orthodox Christian belief-Catholic and Protestant alike-have entered a state of near-terminal decline. The churches with strongest connection to the Christian past have lost members, money, and authority; the elite that was once at least sympathetic to Christian ideas has become hostile or indifferent; and the culture as a whole has turned its back on many of the faith’s precepts and demands. „
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The biggest threat facing America is not a faltering economy or a spate of books by famed atheists. Rather, the country meets new challenges due to the decline of traditional Christianity, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat suggests in Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (Free Press). Douthat has taken his own personal tour of American Christianity: he was baptized Episcopalian, attended evangelical and Pentecostal churches as a child, and converted to Catholicism at age 17. He argues that prosperity preachers, self-esteem gurus, and politics operating as religion contribute to the contemporary decline of America. CT spoke with Douthat about America’s decline from a vigorous faith, modern heretics, and why we need a revival of traditional Christianity.
What do you mean when you say we’re facing the threat of heresy?
I try to use an ecumenical definition, starting with what I see as the theological common ground shared by my own Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations. Then I look at forms of American religion that are influenced by Christianity, but depart in some significant way from this consensus. It’s a C. S. Lewisian, Mere Christianity definition of orthodoxy or heresy. I’m trying to look at the ways the American religion today departs from theological and moral premises that traditional Protestants and Catholics have in common… Read more here
Source : http://www.christianitytoday.com