“Whether or not outrage is involved, the most common experience of Christians who don’t go to church seems to be less a deliberate choice and more a substitution of habits. Put differently, a large share of Christians are opting to go it alone, moving their faith into quarters so private that even the church is not allowed in.” (Quote taken from following article from “Christianity Today”)
Pandemic and the uncertainty that comes with it, politics and the uncertainty that comes with it, economy and the uncertainty that comes with it, natural climate change and the uncertainty that comes with it, and social disruption and the uncertainty that comes with it, ALL contribute to fear, divisiveness, loneliness, and hopelessness. The problem with this is that it has infected the church also. Consequently the church and Christians as a whole are missing in action.
I don’t care if Jesus is returning soon. I don’t care if you say I’m saved, I’m good to go, and the rest were predestined to Hell anyway. I want to be found feeding the needy, finding shelter for homeless, consoling the abused and the abuser, praying over those who have been trafficked, and teaching the comfortable whom are oblivious to the dangers they face outside of Christ.
But the biggest problem to face is not the meager 29% who still regularly attend church, but that the 29% aren’t looking to where they can serve God’s kingdom. The situations I list above are generally avoided and the comfortable aren’t considered (they look nice & don’t have issues (that we know of)). This I call a fortress mentality. It’s really a self-made prison.
I’ve invited drunks, dumpster divers, and a mentally ill man into our church. No long term successes that I know of. Don’t know if I’m the problem or the fact I’m the only one talking to them that puts them off. We used to have a public meal at our church and me and another member would speak to them. And we have some still attending. But what if our public meal had been a celebration of all of our guests that were there. We also had a Vacation Bible School (VBS)) that was well run and attended. It was an evening VBS so we also had an adult Bible Study for the parents (most of them outside of our church). When I asked the leaders of the Bible Study why no one attended they didn’t know. Then I asked if they knew the first names of any of the parents who brought their children to VBS; their answer was no.
You can see the pattern. But how do you replace no program for outreach with a robust outreach and lifestyle mentorship program? And when I mention lifestyle mentorship, I’m speaking of a drastic/desperate effort to abate the social rot (like social black mold) in our society.
I use the word desperate deliberately because I see the danger to our country that is being ignored or denied and no one stepping up with a meaningful agenda to fix it. The obvious solution is for Christians to be the Christians Jesus has called us out to be.
I have been sidelined due to COVID (and other people’s ignorance), heart surgery, brain fog from surgery (5 hours with more than one hour without oxygen), COVID, selling our previous house, and buying a new house, packing and moving, and still COVID (among our family, friends and acquaintances worse that ever). But the first Sunday in November I’m scheduled to give the Communion Meditation and I plan to do it in person. During all this I recorded a video that was shown at church.
And we need to exit the walls of our prison (church) and be willing to suffer as Jesus and the apostles did. We must be willing to talk to people who are different, unpleasant, poorly dressed, worldly, egotistical, emotional wrecks, etc. We’re not going to fix things for them. But we have community resources that will help (a place to contribute our “offerings). And once we get them to a sustainable lifestyle we can introduce them to the Gospel. And once they’ve accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit and a mentor can complete the process of created a new disciple maker.
I would think that men have a great responsibility because families are greatly influenced by their husbands/fathers, good or bad. Christian men themselves need to be meeting together and keeping each other accountable to their Christian principles.
Now that I’ve made these bold statements – does anyone have advice for me as to how to proceed?
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