Catalyst Vineyard Church


Meltdown: The Decline of the American Church

Today’s American Church is on course for a severe spiritual recession. Our membership is shrinking, young Christians are fleeing, donations are dwindling, political fervor is dividing us, and we are not reaching new people at the pace of the U.S. population growth. While these factors eat at the church internally, our once friendly host culture has turned hostile and antagonistic towards our traditional Christian beliefs.

In this series, we will look at six factors that should be our wake-up call to rediscover biblical solutions used by the first-century church in order to reignite a 21st century movement and avoid a devastating collapse.

“… I will build my church, and the powers of hell will not conquer it.” -Matthew 16:18 TPT

(1) INFLATED & HATED: Sunday, January 10th

The evangelical church in the United States is not nearly as large as we’ve been told. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s the same error of overestimation that led to the great economic recession of 2007-2009. That error in housing values led to our longest and deepest economic downfall since the great depression.

In addition, the culture around us has been changing more rapidly than we could have imagined and the direction of this accelerating change includes anti-Christian reactionism that has left us polarized on the ultimate questions of our day like abortion, same-sex marriage, the size of government, and even presidential elections. This nearly 50-50 split has led to near “hatred” by the host culture of traditional Christian views.

“Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt”
Exodus 1:8 NIV

Inflated & Hated Message Notes

(2) DIVIDING & BANKRUPT: Sunday, January 17th

We are barely into the 21st century, and it’s already apparent that the “unified evangelicalism” of the 20th century is a thing of the past as mainstream evangelicals are shifting from politics to social justice and both the academic and younger evangelicals are stepping away from the political right as a result of the influence of post-modern thought.

“A house divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” –Mark 3:25 NIV

At the same time the dependence on dollars for success in the American Evangelical Church and the current and increasing trend in decreased giving both spell trouble as a financial storm continues to rise.

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” –Proverbs 27:12 NIV

Dividing & Bankrupt Message Notes

(3) BLEEDING & SPUTTERING: Sunday, January 24th

People are leaving the church. Even more concerning is that two in three are young evangelicals, ages 18 to 29, that are walking away from faith. Although the American church is bleeding the fastest among the young, they are not alone as other demographic groups, such as men and singles are abandoning church in large numbers.

Of even greater concern is that while the evangelical church continues to shrink in numbers secularism is soaring. The problem we face is simple, we are not reaching new people with the good news of Jesus. The success or failure of the American Church has and always will be answered by this simple question: Are we making disciples?

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

Bleeding & Sputtering Message Notes

(4) REDISCOVERING & REIGNITING: Sunday, January 31st

In order to marry the mission that Jesus gave us to “make disciples” and to “obey everything’ he command us to do, we need to be willing to rediscover the model he provided us to accomplish his mission. That model includes us reigniting his plan of going out to meet those who are lost in relationship to God as their Father. Like Jesus and his disciple, we need to demonstrate God’s goodness and his unconditional love as we share his good news.

“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” –Acts 8:4 NIV

Rediscovering & Reigniting Message Notes