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The Church Has Failed

By Jerrell Miller
Remnant Editor 

Why are the churches failing in America? Recently I watched the National Championship Game in New Orleans. My team won but why did the other team fail. Alabama had been beaten by this team before and everyone expected a closer game. LSU hardly ever got past the 50 yard line. It was a costly victory as Alabamaís best wide receiver pulled a ham string muscle. He had just returned the ball to the 30 yard line of LSU, it was an awesome return, he was gone for the night but remember this was a team effort and others stepped up when he went down. Another player made an outstanding play as he intercepted the ball near the goal line of LSU. He was taken down and was put out of the game with a dislocated hip. Both of these men laid it all on the line and both were injured and taken out of the game. Several stepped up to achieve total victory over a feared opponent. Why wasnít the other team in the game at all, it was their coaches had not prepared them very well. It was the same team that defeated Alabama 65 days before, but they underestimated the might and the intelligence of the coaches at Alabama. 

They Never Forgot Losing To LSU

They never forgot the feeling of loss when they fell to this same team 65 days before. We learned early in the insurance business that the strongest emotion in a person is the feeling of loss. You must be prepared for loss and now we see the United States on the edge of the greatest loss in the history of the world. Now in our 200th year we are approaching the killing of 60,000 babies in the womb. No one is in a hurry to change this situation. No one likes to be a loser, but the Alabama boys felt the feeling of loss and it was the most powerful motivation to win.

Why Churches Fail

 What about God, how does he look at his church and the people called by his name? One dear sister said, ĎIím so excited when I get up in the morning to go to church, but I am so disappointed because I donít feel useful there." You see one thing has been lost in our churches; leadership has failed to give the people a chance to make a difference. Thereís one thing I know about the church and that is this, they have failed to use the testimony of their people. People feel no obligation to their local church because they have nothing to do there.  Pastors have failed to put people in place for responsible work, the people are just waiting to be asked, but sooner or later these people will either stop going to church or go somewhere where they will be useful.  When I go to church in Mobile I will pass several people who will not be there. They have been to the church and nothing is new.  In fact it is estimated that 80% of the population in Mobile will not go to church anywhere.   Churches see the same people doing the same thing over and over again. They say I have been there, got the T-shirt and I donít want to go back.

Early Methodism Had The Answer

John Wesley had a vision but it was more than his vision. His mother Susannah had the organizational skills of a mother. She had 13 children; she spent an hour each week with each of them. One time when her husband was in London and had been gone for several weeks, the man that they sent to look after the church was driving people away from their work. Susannah took action and opened her kitchen up on Sunday morning to minister to the people of the church. Soon Susannahís kitchen had more people in the church than church. The minister at the church complained about what she was doing and when her husband asked her, "What are you doing." She quickly told him, someone has to be responsible for their souls. Susannah wasnít being rebellious to her husband nor was she in rebellion to God. Her commitment to the souls of men was more than her dedication to a church or a husband. When people began to lose hope she was called by God to intervene. If Wesley was the evangelist, Susannah designed the church and understood the organizational structure that was built after the evangelism had been done.  Methodist Women built the new work in their sewing circles.  Without Susannah Wesley there would have been no Methodist Church.  She understood the scripture that says my people fall because they have no knowledge.  Today evangelism is like shooting a scatter shot and then the church is not there to refine the catch.   

VISITATION THAT WORKS

When I joined a local Pentecostal Church in Mobile I filled out a card and asked for a visit from the church. After two months we were still going to the church but no one came. I knew I had the call of God on my life and so I approached the pastor in a diplomatic way and said, "You know you are losing people here?" He said how so and I said, "No one ever came out to see me when I filled out my visitors card." I then told him that I could show him a way to gain membership and do it in a Spiritual way. I was doing more than complaining I was giving him an answer to his church growth problems. He was a great preacher and I loved to hear him preach but that would not solve the answer to the growth of the church. He was on radio and television but that didnít solve the problem. The one thing that this church didnít have was a testimony of victory and they didnít have their members participating in evangelism. I would say that these were good people and they didnít know the word of God but they wanted to do something. Next to the Word of God the most powerful thing in the church is the testimony. So we designed a small magazine called The Witness Magazine, in it was the testimony of salvation and miracles in the church. We had two hundred cards from people who had visited the church in the last year. We had a population of 300 people and on our visitation night we had more than 100 people show up to do the visitation. We did this program for the next 18 months. We saw the population of the church grow from 300 to almost 700 people.

You see just like LSU the church has several talented people on the team but the leadership of the church has failed to use what they have. A famous man said this, "If you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result then you are insane." Churches are not even reaching the visitors at the door. How could they ever reach the lost? After doing The Remnant for the last 19 years, it is the testimony of the saints that people want to read. God has poured out his grace on this newspaper; we have given out more than 1,000,000 newspapers in Mobile, Pensacola and the revivals we have covered. Put something in the hands of the people to do and then go out and just visit the visitors that are coming to your house. If you donít think that communications is important then count the number of people in their cars on a cell phone when you go down the street. Millions of dollars are spent in the country just to contact other people by speaking. Does the church only speak in the pulpit or does it speak through its people. The reason that we are slowly losing our way is because no one knows who we are!

The Church Can Change

Can we change the situation, I have seen the light and the light is us. We are powerful when we give our testimony. I have seen this every Wednesday morning at the Outback meeting at 6 AM at Dauphin way United Methodist Church.