Thom Rainer spoke at the Nashville City Tour a few weeks ago on the State of the Evangelical Church in America. This talk was one of a dozen recordings from the event that we want to give you access to. If you would like to watch Thom’s talk or any of the other eleven videos from the event, you can access them here for free.
Here is a summary of what Thom shared with us,
Rainer revealed that the state of the Evangelical Church is not promising. Depending on how one defines a dying church, he asserts that as many as three out of four churches are currently dying.
Rainer identified several factors. The first of these is an unhealthy attachment to the past. Many churches are trying to recreate the pre-pandemic conditions of 2019. He believes this view hampers progress and causes stagnation within the church community.
Rainer’s second concern lies in the churches’ failure to comprehend the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The accelerated societal changes brought by the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing issues and pushed the church even further towards deterioration. Rainer insists that these churches fail to acknowledge that societal and cultural realities now move forward at a faster pace than in years past.
A vital aspect Rainer highlights is a lack of powerful prayer, particularly corporate prayer. He cites longitudinal studies showing declining church participation in coordinated prayer and evangelistic activities. Without the presence of prayer, he argues, churches lose connection to the sustenance drawn from collective communion with God.
Another issue Rainer brings up is the decline of evangelism. There has been an observable drop in church members involved in evangelism, showing that it now takes over 100 active members to reach one person with the gospel annually.
Finally, he touches on the issue of the church lacking a clear purpose. Evaluating the survival strategy of churches, Rainer sees a failure in many churches to articulate their purpose and a path of discipleship for members.
Rainer, however, doesn’t leave us in despair. He indicates areas of hope and revival within the church community. He observes that churches undergoing genuine revival are those that carry out evangelical activities regularly. He concludes optimistically that a little effort in evangelistic obedience could go a long way. Alongside this, he urged his listeners to uphold our divine commission, to multiply and magnify their church influence under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. His talk is both a sobering reality check and an encouraging call to action for followers of the faith.
If you would like to watch this talk or any of the eleven other talks from the Nashville City Tour, you can get access to them here – 2023 Nashville City Tour Access.
Also, don’t forget that the City Tour is coming to Houston, Dallas and Raleigh in November! Click the Intentionality In Discipleship banner below for more info on those events!