In anticipation of our celebrating our 120 year history, I’ve been doing some reading on churches in America and their lifespan. On average, congregations in America have a lifespan that is similar to that of human beings – about 70 years. House churches have a lifespan of less than 5 years (I was surprised by that).
I learned that congregations come and go. That may sound depressing but we have to keep in mind we are not talking about God’s kingdom – His church on this earth. It continues to move forward and grow and nothing will ever prevail against the church as Jesus said in Matthew 16:18. The Church Jesus established is His kingdom which will be an eternal kingdom (Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed.”).
We have been blessed to be part of a congregation that has lasted so long. Very few can say that.
But, if the Lord delays His return, what would enable Madison Christian Church to continue for another 120 years?
This Sunday we will be hearing a sermon from Thomas Campbell (sort of). Thomas has been dead for 163 years. But for such a special occasion, we have made arrangements for him to be exhumed from the tomb. He will be focusing in the priority of the Bible – God’s book and how essential it is that we love one another.
If we focus on continuing the mission of the church as Jesus gave us in the great commission to make disciples and we focus on doing Bible things by Bible ways and loving one another, there will be a group of people in 2147 who will be celebrating Madison Christians 250th anniversary (again, if the Lord delays that long). It is when people get away from the Bible and the love of Christ that other things creep in and lead to the decline and death of congregations.
Let’s pray together to keep our focus on the Bible and loving one another. Let’s pray we will be willing to change the things that can change and determine to continue in the things that cannot change.
I look forward to seeing all of you this Sunday as we glance back but keep a forward focus on where God may lead us.