Church attendance has been on a steady decline since 1993, a 2021 Barna research study reports. There are a lot of people that will tell you that the recent pain that churches have experienced began around 2020 but the data would disagree with that. For years, churches have struggled and I believe two of the main reasons being: discouragement and disconnection. In my opinion, 2023 will likely be as challenging for churches as it was in 2022. So where do we find hope? Where did we find encouragement when the data doesn’t necessarily lead us in that direction?
The hope for the future of our church and the global church is in the people. At Chenal, it’s YOU. To my knowledge, no one is being forced to attend Chenal. Every Sunday and every meeting point, you have a choice of what to do with your time…and you choose to be here. I cannot emphasize how important that is. The connection that we feel when we gather is something that we can find hope in for our present and fuel for the future of this church.
And finally, whereas a lot of churches across the country are trying to determine if they have a future, the leadership at Chenal is discussing what ours will look like. Throughout the vision process, as a congregation, we have discussed strengths and weaknesses of this church. We have reflected and dreamed of not just next week but next year and years after that. So where do I find my hope for the future? I find it in the work that is being done by the people at Chenal.
I am so thankful for you and who you are. We’ll see you this Sunday at Chenal!