In recent years many Christians have been concerned with the declining rates of membership and attendance of faith based organizations. Two organizations (listed below) found when they surveyed American citizens that there has been a sharp decline in those professing Christianity over the last decade.
I’ve heard a wide variety of reasons behind the phenomenon of decreasing numbers among the faithful. Some include:
“our government has turned its back on God, therefore God has turned his back on us.”
“people are just too busy, they don’t love God enough to make time”
“other religions are systematically taking over our country and will soon be the most popular religion”
No offense if I’ve heard any of these ideas from you, but I’m not buying. I visit with many individuals throughout each week. Those who are believers and those who aren’t. I am particularly interested in the non believers reasons for not identifying with any religion. I know it makes some Christians uncomfortable to consider being friends with those who openly do not profess Christianity. It’s understandable given that our culture has been so predominately Christian for so many years. However, it is my belief that if Christians want to follow the Word, and continue in the great commission, we are all going to have to get more comfortable with non-believers.
Matthew 28:16-20 Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB)16 ¶
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
It is my belief that the declining numbers in the world of Christianity are not from government, busyness, or an attack on Christianity. The declining numbers reflect that Christians themselves are driving people away from church buildings.
When Christians are doing their job right…. the gospel will be taken to the lost. When they aren’t we will see this type of shift in our culture. At some point Christians and churches have to look at what they are doing and evaluate if it is working to spread the LOVE of Christ to those who have never known it.
This week I had a bit of an Aha moment. I was visiting with a young woman that I will call D. She is a beautiful young woman inside and out. D is very childlike, and during our time together she described many events in her life that are considered traumatic. She is optimistic about her future, very full of life, and says that she knows that after all she has been through she knows she is going to be able to use it to help other people. She states repeatedly during our few hours together “All I want to do is help people be okay, I know that is why God let me go through all I have been through”. D is in her early 20’s. My guess is she can’t read or write, and she has never been employed by anyone (at least not legally).
Oh, and she says fuck. She says it all the time. Likely, she doesn’t even know when it pops out of her mouth and while we are visiting each time she uses profanity I think to myself…. I know too many people that can’t hear her story because of her language. It struck me how off that was. As Christians how have we became so sensitive to that which we have decided is distasteful that we have decided it is a good excuse to not promote the Love of Christ to the lost?
Instant Gratification. As a society we have become so used to immediate results. We measure success by numbers and feedback. We feel that we are failures when we execute plan A and it doesn’t produce the results we want, so we move into plan B and so on. I have come to the realization that it doesn’t work that way in doing the work of the church. As Christians we all need to strive to reach a spiritual level that we can connect with others who don’t know the love of Christ. The Bible showed us that the connections Jesus made through relationships with the lost is what brought them to follow him. Social science backs that up.
As Christians, we want to do important things. We want promote the love of Christ to the lost. It’s our job as Christians. What we are doing …. it hasn’t been working. We have to do things differently, and I feel like a strong possibility for progress may be to work on making connections. Sometimes we have to get outside our comfort zone and listen to those that scare us a little bit. There are many, MANY people in our world who want and need the comfort of Christ in their life. But, as a Christian are we strong enough spiritually to handle delivering what they need? If we are offended, hurt, or run scared from every curse word, admission of sin, or lifestyle choice of those who we seek to help, it isn’t their fault. It’s our fault. We can be strong enough to carry the gospel to the lost, but it starts by having enough faith in Christ and in ourselves that we won’t be pulled away.
I challenge everyone to put aside what we have all been doing in an effort to spread the gospel and instead focus on this. Make a connection with someone who needs and wants a connection. Don’t worry about immediate results, worry about their well-being. I really believe if more Christians do this we will be more successful than in years past in promoting the gospel to the lost.
HopeisPuttingFaithtoWork- Monson | September 4, 2016 at 2:10 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p7uOx3-dO
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