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The State of our Churches

By admin | January 5, 2009

Submitted by Prof. Renihan

Last year was a busy year. I traveled more than 100,000 miles on airplanes along with several local trips by automobile. I flew across the Atlantic twice and the Pacific once. I visited churches all over the US as well as in several foreign countries. I taught classes in several different places, and spoke with very many pastors from churches in all kinds of different places. What did I find?

In general, I found great encouragement. Many of our churches are growing: buildings filled to capacity, or significant growth known over the last year. Of course every church faces difficulties; this is true of all of the churches in the Scriptures, and we should not expect anything different. But counting this reality, I think that Reformed Baptist churches are making some progress.

Some examples: One church in the Northwestern US has regular attendance that fills the sanctuary to capacity; a church in the Northeast celebrated many baptisms, a church in the Southwest noticeably increases in attendance on every visit I make. In one country I visited, all of the pastors present at a meeting expressed encouragement for the events of the previous year; in another country attendance at meetings exceeded expectations. As I look back on 2008, I do so with some measure of thanksgiving and hope. Thanksgiving for the Lord’s presence with so many of our churches; hope that He will increase His blessings on these churches–and more.

Of course I have concerns too. Many of our pastors are now like me–over 50 and seeing that there are probably fewer years left for us to serve. Our churches are not producing men to take the reins in the next generation, and we have not sent out men to serve in other countries in the proportion we should. I am encouraged for the present and concerned for the future. Now is the time to act. Let us take the blessings we are knowing now and ask the Lord to multiply them for the next generation. How will we do this? More next time.

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