Pastor David Jeremiah warned that too many churches in the United States have “forgotten” why they exist and focused on entertainment and social issues instead of focusing on things the Bible tells them to focus on.
In an interview with the Christian Post about his new book Everything You Need: 7 Essential Steps to a Life of Confidence in the Promises of God, Jeremiah said, “The Church is coming under attack; it’s forgotten what the Church is supposed to be. We’re not an entertainment service; we’re not here to see how close we can get to what the world does. But there’s so much of the world in the Church and vice versa that we can’t tell a difference. We have to hold to the truth. We have to get nourished. If it’s not happening, you’re a social organization and not a church.”
Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, explained that he understands the pressure churches face to be “successful in the eyes of the world, but that there are more important issues in churches than the number of people sitting in the pew. He said, “There’s an incredible motivation on the part of everyone to be successful, and a lot of times people program their churches to see how many people will sit in the pews on Sunday. There’s nothing wrong with getting people there, as long as you share the Gospel. But there’s no glory in just a number.”
He said pastors should be focused on the spiritual disciplines that make churches healthy rather than being preoccupied with the techniques that will make it only grow numerically. “Don’t worship at the attendance altar. A lot of good things happen in churches when there aren't huge numbers but the pastor has prepared a good message and there’s worship. We get off on this thing that we have to be bigger than the guy down the street and how to get more people in the building. When you’re focused on that, you’ll never preach anything that’s controversial and you’ll always be trying to figure out how to get more people to come.”
Jeremiah shared that while many churches are abandoning traditional elements of the worship service in order to attract younger people, he believes that it is contributing to the number of people leaving the church. Based on what he has seen, he believes that younger people are still hungry for the core of the Christian faith. He said, “Here in California, we see interest on the part of millennials and younger for the Bible and for truth. Most of the time, we see statistics about how people are leaving the Church, but in many respects, young people are demanding more truth, more teaching, and less entertainment. They’re not interested in shallow expressions of religion.”
Dr. Jeremiah’s new book will be released on October 1st.
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
Photo courtesy: Edward Cisneros/Unsplash