Why the Church Won't Die

If Christianity is declining in influence, which it arguably is in Canada, the larger question is – will it become extinct?

It’s been engaging to watch the response to Monday’s blog post (lots of off line dialogue and some great stuff on my Facebook page – love to hear more!).   But here’s the bottom line.  The church won’t die.  And here’s why.  It’s Christ’s church, not ours.  Jesus has far more invested in it than we do and we have been promised in scripture that even the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.

But here’s what’s equally true.

While the church itself won’t die, yours might.

While the church will always exist, God might simply choose not to use you to lead it.

This has happened more than a few times before.  Witness the 19th century church buildings that used to house thousands of worshippers that are now museums or community theaters.  The church itself didn’t die – but their church did.  And that will happen again.

I’m with 2500 church leaders at the Drive Conference today.  This weekend I’ll be with hundreds of church leaders in Canada and a month from now with 5000 leaders at Orange.  And every weekend I’m home at Connexus where we are seeing 68% of our growth come from people who didn’t previously attend church. The church is not dead.  You can actually see the church that will be taking shape in front of our eyes today.

Here are some marks of the kind of churches I believe will survive in Canada and the US well into the 22nd century:

They will be Christ-centered.

The truth of scripture will be evident in the lives its members live daily not just in the notes they take on Sunday.

They will use the culture to reach the culture – their music, style of communication and approach will make it easy for a completely unchurched person to access everything and begin following Christ.

They will lead people into authentic community.

They will exist not for themselves, but for the people who aren’t there yet.

They will think more about outsiders than insiders.

They will drop a posture of arrogance and think of others as better than themselves.

They will be relentlessly committed to sharing the unchanging truth of God with an ever-changing culture.

They will be far more selfless than the last generation of Christians

When you have people living this way, the church won’t die.  I believe it will flourish.

Those of some of my thoughts about the church that will be here decades from now.  What would you add?  What do you see?



  1. Richard O'Byrne on March 31, 2011 at 11:35 am

    There’s a church at the end of my street that has been renovated into a rather lovely collection of apartments, stained glass windows in the kitchen anyone!? Yes please!

    Humm, the church in 50 years time. I suppose that depends on where you live. I imagine cities will become increasingly secular so they will probably become nightclubs (I know of a decent example in Brixton, London), then there is St. Martins in the Field’s (Trafalgar Square, London) which has a very popular cafe in the crypt.

    I suppose as a city becomes more cosmopolitan and the ethnic mix changes, perhaps churches will be converted into places of worship of other ethnic groups as white people move towards secularism. Then again I imagine churches in rural white dominated areas will probably change in the opposite way. Already we see the emergence of super churches, with their televised sermons and cultish, brainwashed, hordes.

    Anyway, that’s all boring, 50 years from now hopefully churches will be far more interesting places. Perhaps fusion reactors or space ports. Hummm, I wonder if the Christian’s could be convinced, please Mr. Christian can we build a space port here?! It will take you closer to God, win win Mr. Christian… I suppose it’s worth a go, after all, they do believe in God.

    • Carey on March 31, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Richard…thanks for joining the conversation.

  2. Dustin W. Stout on March 30, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I totally agree Carey! I would probably add that I believe the church that lasts will be more unified than it seems to currently be. The only way we can stand firm is UNITED, as the body.

    It’s funny you posted this when you did. Have you heard about the destiny Leader Online conference happening on May 5th? If not, you should definitely check it out because this is exactly what it’s about – http://www.DestinyLeaderOnline.com

    Thanks for writing this!

  3. […] it's fantastic way to look at the mission of the future Church. Check it out if you have a chance: Why the Church Won't Die.  Do you think the Church will survive?  What do you think we need to […]

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