While there are failing churches, there also are plenty of success stories. A church I can walk to from our home, a United Church of Christ, is successful. There is a branch of the Presbyterian church in the middle of New York City that has expanded to multiple campuses.
The New York City Presbyterian church attracts professionals in the 30′s and 40′s. The ex professor who started the church knows how to reach this group. He knows they are not as worried about the afterlife as much as they are about their professional legacy.
Perhaps many of today’s under 40 professional adults have a hard time going hook, line and sinker for the notion there is an afterlife where angels sing. Their concern, if they are like their contemporaries in NYC, is that their 80 plus hours of work each week will be forgotten and wiped away when they die.
This New York City preacher has something comforting for them: There is a God. He is recording what you do at work. It will be in his records forever.
He also seems to admit there are competing gods. His god is the best one because he comes to find you instead of visa versa.
The topic of sin and the forgiveness for sin did not come up in the article about this preacher and his message. And why would it.
The lesson is that a preacher’s version of the faith must fill the pews. Adjust the message or die.