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SERMONS > The Church Should Never Be Empty...But It Is

(Excerpts from a sermon by Archbishop Hartley)

 

Churches are being closed, members are looking for another place of worship, and it’s a weekly occurrence.  There are many reasons today that churches are not growing.  The blame lies everywhere. A few years ago I celebrated midday Thursday Mass on a Caribbean Island.  After Mass the pastor apologized because, as he lamented, the attendance was so poor. There were over 200 there!!!  In so called Third World Countries 200 people in church is a small attendance; it does not happen often. So too is there reason for coming to church. They do not come to hear political speeches or mindless causes of political correctness; they come to hear the word of God and to fellowship.  Dare a preacher preach for 20 minutes, it might just cause a riot.

Churches now cut back on their weekly activities.  Sunday school is gone; midweek services; people are too busy; youth meetings, a thing of the past; kids are too busy to come to weekly events, but let a Rock star or rapper come to town, there is a traffic jam.  The doors of the church are opened only on  Sunday for an hour or so, pastors have to look for fulltime employment.

Why is the church not growing?  It begins with its  leaders.  Some are caught up in aligning themselves with causes that have nothing to do with ministry.  Church boards are now in charge, where the pastor and spiritual leaders must take directions from them.  Families are not coming to church together, parents leave the kids at home, husbands run off to the sport activity of the day, and church by some reasoning is just too long; never mind that the same people would go to a football game and sit for 4 hours after being in a traffic jam for 2 hours.  The church in the 21stcentury is not like it was years past.  Each day we see and read the turmoil around the world.  We wonder why the stadiums and dance halls are full and the church remains empty.  There was a time when the doors of the church never closed, during the day people could stop by and pray, but not so today, the doors are locked tight.

What then can we do to get back to the basis of the church to see its growth?  There are many answers that can be given, but without long explanations, we can only come to come one conclusion, a need for more study of the Word of God to remind us to adhere to the principles for which Jesus came and died.

It is time for Sunday school to be promoted in church again, doors open weekly, midweek services finding its place, most importantly families worshiping together. The church should never be empty, the little red light burns in the chapel signifying God’s holy presence, but hope is not lost, perhaps we can build up our pews again.

In the name of the Father Son & Holy Ghost.  Amen.            

 

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