When Charles Haddon Spurgeon first went to Park Street church in London, he was nineteen years old. There he found a church with a seating capacity of fifteen hundred but with an attendance of under two hundred. Nine years later the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built to accommodate the crowds which came to hear him preach; his sermons were published in newspapers around the world; a school had been established to train pastors; and a colportage business was started to print evangelistic booklets. It was said that over 23,000 people had heard him preach during those years.
During Spurgeons 38 years as pastor of the MetropolitanTabernacle, his congregation included 6,000 worshippers and added 14,000 members. Clearly the Metropolitan Tabernacle was one of the most influential churches of the 19th century.
In 1972, however, seventy-five years after Spurgeon retired, some pastors visiting his church counted only 87 worshippers for the morning service.
What had happened to this once great church? How did they lose their influence? Many explanations could be given. London had changed. People had changed. The church did not keep up with the times. It should have moved to the suburbs.
In simple terms the church had somewhere along the way, lost its focus.
We are always only one generation away from irrelevancy and extinction!
contributed by Ralph Juthman
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