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The Church: Devastation Looming or Revival Emerging?

By December 31, 2020No Comments

What does the future hold for “The Church”?  Is devastation looming or is revival emerging? In the United States, there was a reverence for the church even by non-goers. The church world held charitable immunity, which exempted them from civil liability. The immunity is long gone in most states. The reverse has happened. Churches are soft targets for both crime and lawsuits. Church leaders were forced to learned to mitigate the risky business of being a church.     


In the 1990s, church leaders saw polls from Gallup and others that showed attendance had dropped more than twenty points in twenty years. The numbers were no surprise to them. It was a battle they had been fighting. Many churches in the UK closed and were repurposed. That trend seemed to be on its way to America as even churches in the Bible belt began to close and sell off properties. The church didn’t give up. Many found a way to not only survive but to thrive. 2016, Faith Promise in Knoxville, Tennessee was named the 12th fastest growing church in America. It also made the list for being one of the 100 largest churches in America. (According to Outreach Magazine) Many other churches seem to be on the rise and churchgoers were content.  


March of 2020 brought the COVID-19 pandemic. It forced churches across America to close for the first time in their history. It was a devastating blow. Church leaders scrambled to find a way to reach their people. Churches offered drive-in services, streaming services, and some even recruited volunteers to call people to check on them personally. The months of closure were a dark time. Churches are still under COVID-19 restrictions. The restrictions limit capacity, events, and outreach operations. In-person attendance appears to be down significantly. 


Dr. Barry Culberson, Pastor of Knoxville Christian Center remarked, “We are doing what it takes to stay alive.” He went on to elaborate, “We comply with rules and safety regulations. We have begun streaming services, we offer small groups via Zoom, and we have taken extra precautions for people who choose to attend in person.” Pastor Culberson seemed optimistic and ready to face whatever is ahead.  


Jamie Davis, Associate Pastor of Faith Promise Church said, “The church has never been in a better position than we are right now! We are re-focused. The harvest is wide-open and receptive. 2020 has reminded people that they are built for community. It has them craving what they took for granted.” He went on to say, “We know that change is necessary. We must be in perpetual hyper motion. We have to offer a safe in-person worship environment plus a virtual option. People need to be able to worship together. We must show the love of the Holy Spirit and make disciples for Christ. As I said before, the Harvest is wide-open and receptive.”


Jennifer Minor, Secretary of Union Valley Baptist Church said, “Our congregation isn’t down. We are doing great and our church is on fire!” (Of course, she meant in the spiritual and not literal sense of the word.)

The church may look different in the coming days and years. Managing the risk is an ever-changing and daunting task. As insurance professionals, our legal teams are staying sharp and enhancing our products so that we can stay relevant and be helpful as the changes happen. Church leaders are full of valor and determined to follow the Holy Spirit to do whatever it takes to reach people. It reflects the early church.

{Peter answered them, “All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act, and each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.  This promise belongs to you and to your children and to everyone who is far away. It belongs to everyone who worships the Lord our God. Peter said much more to warn them. He urged, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted what Peter said were baptized. That day about 3,000 people were added ⌞to the group. The disciples were devoted to the teachings of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.  A feeling of fear came over everyone as many amazing things and miraculous signs happened through the apostles. All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other. Acts 2:38-44, GW}

The Church has the greatest revival it has ever seen about to emerge! It is an unstoppable move of the Holy Spirit. We may not know how it will look, but we know that devastation is not looming.  “The days are going to come, declares the Almighty LORD, when I will send a famine throughout the land. It won’t be an ordinary famine or drought. Instead, there will be a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” Amos 8:11, GW.    It is time to feed those hungry for the word. 


I’m thankful to be a part of “The Church”, and a willing servant to the churches. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Teresa Sheppard

Insurance Risk Advisor