I believe the biggest threat to the black church today is the role the church plays in our lives. While growing up, the black church was the center of our community and our lives. My street was a ghost town on Sundays. Everybody from saint to sinner was in church. It was one of those unspoken rules: Sunday, that’s where you went. The church was our after-school program. The church was our social services agency. The church was our extended family. We didn’t need a schedule of events in order to be there. Often times, we’d simply drop in if we were passing by. We worked together. We struggled together. We shared together.
I have always wonder has the new church model impacted the traditional black church? Meaning new model—with comfortable auditoriums (often with stadium seating), theatrical lights, refreshments in the lobby, rigidly-timed and well-rehearsed worship services—has this moved the church-going experience from an interactive one to a passive one? Has going to church, in some of these places, become more like going to a show, or going to the movies? Has the dimmed lighting and theatrical aspect moves us from worship to entertainment? Are we being entertained? We know exactly when church will start and exactly when church will end. We are being served by the fine folks at "Church" who put on this show for us. A show that costs us nothing in terms of personal involvement or personal sacrifice. Many churchgoers simply melt into the crowd, becoming observers, hearers of the word rather than doers.
I've notice that local church attendance is dropping in a lot of areas especially here in Jacksonville Fl. I have notice there's a lot of empty parking places and I am guessing empty pews at quit a few churches. Now some of these churches are not accustomed to seeing empty pews. Our revivals, here, are poorly attended, as are inter-church or district events. We’re simply not showing up.