They show up every Sunday, like clockwork, they sit in the same spot, have most generally the same vacant stare after just a few minutes, and unless you search them out, or they have an issue, usually one they feel is life altering, but is generally no more than a standard issue of life, they will not seek you out during the week. Not all of them of course, but the majority are this way, before and after the sermon is the small talk, the innocuous obvious statements, “How have you been,” “Been nice weather lately,” “Have a good week.” Month after month, year after year, they show up, sit in their self-appointed designated spots, and then head out the church door, the building empty less than five minutes after the final prayer.
Where is the growth, why is it that it has never been necessary to place an addition on the church building, always just a remodel here or there, replacing the dead flowers for new, why do the same ones keep showing up each week, an occasional new family, but just as many leaving for greener pastures, as it were, as new faces being seen. They refuse to grow, they refuse to proclaim their faith outside of the church doors, they have no tales to tell of those they have witnessed to for the glory of God the previous week, and the same story, the same play is repeated, week after week, year after year. More may show up during the Easter or Christmas service, but the following weeks, and for the remainder of the year, the core group is all that remains.
They want to talk about the grass, the windows, the carpet, perhaps replacing the pews. They want to discuss the plans for a newer, larger television screen or monitor, perhaps in two Sundays we should have a potluck and call it a fellowship meeting, perhaps a comedian or well-known singer for a Sunday night. And you keep preaching to them the need for conviction, the responsibilities of a servant of Christ, the price that was paid for them, and as you do you focus on the back wall of the congregational room so you do not have to look at their glazed over faces, the droopy, sleepy eyes, trying to get through another sermon.
Perhaps they are right, perhaps a little entertainment is what is needed, some YouTube videos showing the trials and tribulations that the world is going through, a litany, a montage of short, maybe some comedy clips to keep their attention on at least something considered religious. But they will not become or stay convicted past the next sentence, the church doors are like big erasers, the world is brought in, the Word and truths of Scripture are not taken out. They feel good for a while, they have fulfilled their obligation to the Lord for the week, and you are left to wonder, was I really called to this position, am I truly a preacher of the Word of God, or simply a handmaid to a group of milk-toast-at-best believers.
Time to go to the finance committee meeting, time to go to the after church fellowship meeting, where the name of Christ will not even be spoken, time to begin giving serious thought to some form of entertainment venue, anything to keep them interested, anything to keep them coming back. But most will, no matter the entertainment, no matter the message, for they are not convicted beyond their own obligations, obligations that have absolutely no conviction to worship and praise beyond the movement of their lips. The less conviction of the Holy Spirit, the better, the less personal accountability, the better, stay away from the center, stay on the fringes of spirituality and they will remain content.
I pity you if you are the pastor of this church, not because of your congregation, but because of you. Either you were not called to the position you now hold, or you have lost whatever fire you once had for the Lord. I really do pity you.