Charles Hadden Spurgeon was a great Baptist preacher in the 1800’s. He pastored one church for thirty-eight years.
When he first arrived at this church (it was called “Park Street Church”) he was only 19 years old. The church had a seating capacity of 1500, but only 200 or less were attending.
Under his leadership the church began to grow. Nine years later he built a new sanctuary, gave it a new name (Metropolitan Tabernacle), established a school for pastors; and a business was started to print evangelistic booklets. Attendance grew to over 6000 and the church had 14,000 members!
Clearly, this was one of the most prominent churches in the 1800’s – even by today’s standards.
But in 1972, seventy-five years after Charles Spurgeon had retired, a group of pastors visited this same church and they counted ONLY 87 people in the morning worship service.
What happened? To put it bluntly, the Metropolitan Tabernacle simply had not changed with the times. London had changed. The community had changed. People had changed. But the church’s approach to ministry had not changed. As a result, the church was no longer effective in reaching people for Christ . . . and a once great work was now only a hollow shell of what it had been.
This explains why churches today can sit on a major highway with thousands of cars passing by each day, and be virtually ignored by the community. They are locked-in to yesterday’s methods in today’s world. And it has nothing to do with “remaining faithful” to Biblical orthodoxy. It has everything to do with being stubborn and not willing to change!
Let me be clear….
- Christ didn’t die for the King James Bible
- Christ didn’t die to keep drums off the stage
- Christ didn’t die for Sunday night church services
- Christ didn’t die for Sunday School
- Christ didn’t die for man-made dress codes
So why do churches keep dying for these things?