I grew up in church. Late in my teenage years, I became passionate about pursuing God. But if I am honest, I can’t say that I loved church. I didn’t hate church; I was thankful for the church, but I didn’t consider it a “non-negotiable” in my walk with Jesus. But in my early 20’s my obsession with Jesus grew. I saw in Ephesians 5:25-27 that Paul encouraged husbands to love their wives in the same extravagant way that Christ loves His church. I realized that if I loved Jesus, I would love what He loves, and He loves the church. (I describe in more detail my revelation of the church here.) Now, as my love for Jesus deepens, I find myself loving the church more and more. But when I look at statistics, I get depressed. According to many stats and professionals, the American church is dying.
With less than 20% of America’s population attending church on a regular basis, it looks like we are fighting a losing battle.
But then again, maybe we’re looking through the wrong lens.
What I see is an opportunity. People still need Jesus, and if they need Jesus, they need the church. Not just any church but a healthy church. Jesus said He is building His church (Matthew 16:18), and I wholeheartedly desire to join Him (1 Corinthians 3:9-10). As Jesus builds his church, He promises that all the powers of hell will not conquer it. I want in on that. I want that for our community.
We realize people have had all sorts of experiences with churches. People that leave and avoid the church do so for legitimate reasons; they’ve been hurt or let down. We acknowledge that and don’t make excuses. But the fact is that Jesus’ life and love come into the world through the church. Jesus can heal those wounds in people’s hearts and lives, and we want to be a part of that healing process. Our church must be faithful vessels of His gospel because it is the power of God to bring salvation (Romans 1:16) into people’s lives and communities. Os Guinness said, “In itself the good news of Jesus is utterly relevant, or it’s not the good news it claims to be. ” We want to be living examples of that gospel.
This year, Victory Life Sherman has seen some amazing things. We’ve had 129 people fill out connect cards, letting us know they were our guests. Wow! It’s awesome so many people gave us the opportunity to connect with them. Many of them have had bad experiences with a church in the past, and we hope that we can begin the healing process. On top of that, 127 people have given their lives to Jesus. It’s humbling to be able to share that number. 127 since January 1st! 127 people’s whole eternity has changed by the power of Jesus Christ! That is so awesome! And we are just getting started.
According to the Barna Group (a research organization that studies church trends), 51% of Americans say attending church is “not too” or “not at all” important (see full article here). If that statistic holds true for Sherman, TX, that means that out of the 39,296 people in our city, there are 20,041 people not connected to a local church. That’s a huge mission field for us. There are a ton of people in our community who need to connect with Jesus through a healthy local church. We want to be that healthy church. Because of this we are doing something new:
For Easter this year in Sherman (March 26-27), we are doubling our services. We will have 2 Saturday services (4:30 and 6:30 PM) and 2 Sunday services (9:00 and 11:00 AM). We encourage you to celebrate the resurrection with us and invite someone to join you. There are 20,000 people to choose from, let’s find some of them and extend an invitation. We’ve provided a bunch of resources for you on our homepage.
Additionally, for the foreseeable future beyond Easter, we will have 2 Saturday night services. We are currently maxed out in our parking lot and kids spaces during Saturday night services. So from April 2 onward, we will have Saturday services at 4:30 and 6:30 PM to reach more people. We are creating empty seats so that more people can have a chance to connect to the gospel of Jesus.
We are committed to building healthy churches that are growing people in Christ. And because of this commitment, we are eager to connect people to Jesus. He is building His church, and we want to help Him build His church in this community because there are so many people who need it.