Many of these churches were built for one big crowd one day a week one hour a week. They might have old and dated education and recreation facilities as well. Some of them are in worship centers with a capacity multiple times their actual attendance. They can have significant unused space and deferred maintenance. A lot of their funds go to keep the lights on.
What a big difference a region makes.
Or use to make.
I served as pastor of four churches, and three of them were in the Bible Belt. One was not. It was my favorite.
The Bible Belt refers to that region of the southeastern and south-central United States where church attendance has been higher historically, and where biblical values are more closely aligned with cultural values.
But the buckle of the Bible Belt is coming off. That means the entire belt will soon fall off. And it is happening rapidly.
There are thousands of churches in the Bible Belt. Sadly, too many of them are not adjusting to the changing realities of the area. They still act like it’s 1975. Here’s why:
- They don’t recognize the decline in cultural Christianity.They refuse to admit the world has changed around them. And they are often angered when someone suggests they make methodological and stylistic changes.
- They have many “church rules.”The church rules could be related to attire worn on Sunday, or times of worship, or inconsequential polity issues. The point is they do things like they did 40 years ago, and wonder why those on the outside are not interested in their churches.
- They have leaders who have never led in a highly unchurched mission field.
- They confuse traditions with truth.
- They do outreach the way they’ve always done it.
- They have significant conflict due to frustration.
- They are very slow to respond.
- They have significant facility challenges.