Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the church in Europe, at least about church buildings in Europe. In Europe, because of its rampant secularism, churches stand empty. These are often large buildings in the middle of towns. They are being turned into supermarkets, skateboard parks, bookstores, gyms, circus training schools, and even bars.
The trend seems to be most advanced in the Netherlands. “The country’s Roman Catholic leaders estimate that two-thirds of their 1,600 churches will be out of commission in a decade, and 700 of Holland’s Protestant churches are expected to close within four years. ‘The numbers are so huge that the whole society will be confronted with it,’ says Ms. Grootswagers, an activist with Future for Religious Heritage, which works to preserve churches. Everyone will be confronted with big empty buildings in their neighborhoods.’ ”
What is the future of the church?
I’m not sure any church could–or should–survive apart from the teaching of Scripture, the call to radical transformation, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
But the church which follows the words and work of Christ, obeys the leading of the Spirit, and submits to Him will thrive in a hostile environment.
Years ago I made the bold statement that we must prepare for growth because the demise of our culture and the breakdown of the family will force people to turn to the church. When you live in a world that encourages immorality and unfaithfulness, people will flock to the place that encourages the opposite.
We now live in a society that does not teach something as basic as marital faithfulness.
We all know hard times are coming. God’s Word tells us of the difficulty ahead.
God’s Word also tells us of the triumph over the world.
When Jesus revealed the church to His disciples, He gave the hope for the church. “. . . on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18, HCSB).
Jesus prepared us for these tough times. “You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered” (Matthew 10:22).
Times will be hard, but we have a great Savior.
The church will be fine.
Let us be faithful in our service to God.
I write a daily devotional that goes out around the country and in over forty other countries. If you would like to receive my free daily look at our lives and God’s Word, you can subscribe at www.waylonbailey.com. If you find this helpful, please share with others.