Many of us Christians here in the U.S. have great concerns about the state of our nation, but why is there seemingly no serious alarm or outcry among Christians about the condition of the Church? According to George Barna, 3,500–4,000 churches close their doors each year in America (The Barna Study, www.barna.org). That amounts to over ten churches closing their doors each and every day (this figure doesn’t account for new churches that are opening their doors every day). And if that isn’t enough, Barna goes on to say that churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to nominalism and secularism. Shouldn’t it concern us that the Church in America is dying out? Shouldn’t it concern us that we who are the salt and light of the world are becoming irrelevant and marginalized right here in our own country?
There are those who are happy with the growth of their own local congregation even though the Church in America is in major decline. Are we only concerned about our own congregation, or are we going to take into consideration the whole Church and work together for the cause of Christ? We have for far too long isolated ourselves from one another. Jesus would be so pleased with His Church if it became the embodiment of what He prayed for in His High Priestly Prayer in John 17: “[May they] be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23 NIV).
The mark of true biblical success is the whole Church working together so that the world comes to know that God the Father sent His Son to earth. How are we doing with that? I am not asking how your congregation is doing. I am asking, “How is the whole Church doing in each of our cities?” This is the mindset and concern that pastors and leaders in cities should have. Are we all looking out for one another, or are we so busy that we don’t have time for one another and the advance of God’s Kingdom in our cities? This is the very reason why the apostle Paul said to the Philippians, “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:4 NIV). He was encouraging them to overcome any self-centeredness in the Church in their city, knowing that it would only bring division and further hinder the flow of the Gospel in their city.
– From The Incarnational Church: Catching Jesus’ Radical Approach to Advancing His Kingdom