We launched our church because of the great need in our area for churches with both deep belief in the gospel of Jesus and deep love for the people in our area. Rather than retreating from our world, we wanted to be a church that engaged our world for good. It is hard to deny that the South is littered with the bones of dead or dying churches that are failing to positively and significantly impact our world for Jesus. That’s not to say that every church is a bad church, but it does point to some major issues at play in many churches. Two years into our church plant, I am more convinced than ever of the need for new and renewed churches to meet the challange of a rapidly changing culture. Statistics also bear this out (see the map below). For the first time in 200 years, the church in the South is on the decline by attendance.
April 26-27, I will be attending a conference that will address these issues and call us to make a difference at this critical time. I want to invite you to join me at the conference. It would be a blast to have a bunch of us dreaming and praying together about how God might use us to engage our world with the gospel. If you are interested, you can register at www.advancethechurch.com. Please let me know, and we’ll plan to connect.
The following was posted on Pastor J. D. Greear’s blog (jdgreear.com) and is reprinted by permission.
Guest Blogger: Mike McDaniel, Director of SendRDU
Map Source: American Church in Crisis by Dave Olsen
That’s the title for this year’s Advance Conference, April 26-27 in RDU. Last year we called for a resurgence of the local church. This year we’re focusing on the major issues that are standing in the way of that happening here in the South.
The South is changing. Urbanization and the vibrant growth of our cities have transformed the cultural landscape. Cities like RDU have become new centers of business and education, places where culture is being formed and made. And yet as our cities are advancing, the church is shrinking. For the first time in its history, the church in the South is declining at a rate faster than anywhere else in the country.
See for yourself. This map shows you where evangelical Christianity is growing in the U.S. (Pink indicates growth. Blue indicates decline).
And this isn’t just a problem in the cities, either. These changes are felt in small towns, where small town southern values are clashing with new urban postmodernity, and religion is often more prevalent than the gospel. There may be churches on every corner, but most are plateaued or declining to the point where they will be empty in 20 years.
As we stand at this critical turning point, we must be prepared to respond. We believe that the decline of the church is not due to external factors, but internal failures of the church to faithfully communicate the Gospel and engage the changing culture around us. That is the vision behind the title Contextualizing the Gospel in the New South. We want to equip pastors, lay leaders, and members to respond by engaging the changing culture of the South with the unchanging message of the gospel.
This year we’ve moved the conference to the Summit to be able to offer it the cheapest price possible. Right NOW you can get tickets for a ridiculously cheap early bird rate of $50.
Speakers include: Mark Driscoll, Ed Stetzer, Johnny Hunt, David Platt, Tullian Tchividjian, Matt Carter
You can register at www.advancethechurch.com.