Monday, January 31, 2005

What the rest of the world sees in the American church

SOURCE: January 2005, Charisma Magazine

From church planter and trainer Natalia Schedrivaya, Russia
"Church growth to me involves spreading the gospel to places where no one goes or wants to go."

She continues,
"Materialism is the No. 1 enemy of Russian churches. Today pastors are not praying about how to reach those who have not heard the gospel. They are praying, 'God, how can I have a megachurch.' This is where the church in America has been confused. What are our priorities?"

From pastor Sunday Adelaja, Ukraine (largest church of Europe with 30,000 members)
"There is not a sense of desperation for God in the United States.
[Another] problem I see in the American church involves money. The American church is spending most of its money on things that are not priorities of God. If the church doesn't understand the priorities of God before spending its money, then abuse is inevitable."

From the president of the All India Christian Council, Joseph D"Souza, India (he does work among the Dalits--the untouchables)
"The American church has made four critical errors that account for its lack of substantial growth:
1. American Christians have put God in a comfortable box [so that they might have a comfortable life].
2. Faith in the United States has become consumer-oriented. What is God going to do for me?
3. There is an inadequate understanding of suffering and persecution.
4. The American church has ignored the fact that it is no longer the epicenter of global Christianity. The activity of the church has moved to the Southern hemisphere.

From pastor Samuel Lee, Holland
He asks the question, why aren't American churches growing compared to churches in other countries? Here are his conclusions:
1. We must embrace the miraculous. Because America has so many comforts, people don't seem to need miracles. But we need the Holy Spirit's agenda.
2. We must reject Hollywood tendencies. Some churches in the United States look like they are sponsoring fashion shows or TV programs.
3. We must forsake pride. Outsiders read our character, not our bulletins.
Then he says "I wish my American brothers realized how hurtful it is to the cause of Christ when they focus so much on material things."

From pastor Jackson Senyonga, Uganda
He says there are several key reasons why the American church has not grown as rapidly as churches in Africa:
*The American church is more program-oriented than 'presence-oriented'
*The people come to church on their terms and pastors serve those terms rather than God.
*The obedience level is too low.
*America has no time for God.
*The American church suffers from prayerlessness.

From pastor Kong Hee, Singapore
He says that Christians need to do four things to see the same kind of growth they are experiencing in Asia:
1. A commitment to soul-winning
2. A commitment to power evangelism
3. A commitment to discipleship
4. A devotion to missions

From overseer of the African-based denomination RCCG, Enoch Adeboye, Nigeria
"If the American church is to experience the rapid growth that other parts of the world are currently experiencing, then it must have revival. But revival is expensive. It is not cheap. There is a price to pay for revival. A revival takes us back to the basics of Christian principles that are fast disappearing from the Christian horizon. This includes a disciplined life of sincere holiness and a life devoted to prayer and fasting."

1 comment:

  1. wow, this is exactly what's been on my mind the past few days...