We have a lot of work to do.
The following quotes are from Revolution, by George Barna. I did not loosely put these together, however. I picked them from among a much larger list.
Read them one at a time and look at the picture that emerges.
- The biweekly attendance at worship services is, by believers’ own admission, generally the only time they worship God.
- Eight out of every ten believers do not feel they have entered into the presence of God, or experienced a connection with Him, during the worship service.
- Fewer that one out of every six churched believers has a relationship with another believer though which spiritual accountability is provided.
- The most significant influence on the choices of churched believers is neither teachings from the pulpit nor advice gleaned from fellow congregants; it is messages absorbed from the media, the law, and family members.
In light of all this, how shocking is the following additional finding?:
A large majority of churched believers rely upon the church, rather than the family, to train their children to become spiritually mature.
Um, if that isn’t working for the parents, how likely is it to work for the children???
We have to do something different!!!
I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is to do the same things but expect different results.
Can we really just keep preaching expository sermons in church twice a week—or just once a week—while the situation is as described above?
Apparently, people are figuring out that we can’t. Barna believes that 20 million people have left institutional churches to meet in homes, which is the topic of his book.
Given the information above, it seems an obvious recommendation that everyone follow them. Even better, maybe the pastors could figure out the obvious and change what they’re doing!
Think about it. If you lectured week after week for years—or in this case, centuries—and maybe 10% to 20% were listening, would you just keep lecturing? Wouldn’t you stop at some point and have a frank discussion with the listeners and figure out what was wrong? I know I would!
Unfortunately, the simple truth is that the pastor who does that will find out what’s wrong. If he gets Biblical about what to do, then he will lose at least 50% of his congregation and probably more, and he will lose his livelihood because even the unspiritual shell out money to sit in the pew each week.
I hope the reason that this is not happening is because pastors just don’t know any better. In some cases, I’m sure that must be true. In other cases, pastors are just hirelings who care more about money and security than they do about God’s people, God, or his will.
What should we do different?
So what should we do?
Well, the full answer to that is quite long. The short answer to that is be scriptural. Many of the areas we’re not being scriptural are obvious. For example:
- How is it, then, brothers? When you come together every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation. Let everything be done decently and in order.
- Through [Christ] all the body, being rightly formed and united together, by the full working of every part, is increased to the building up of itself in love.
Obviously, every part of the body must be doing its share, and the members must all participate in meetings. As Paul further puts it:
If anything is revealed to another that is sitting down, let the first hold his peace, for you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and that all may be comforted.
Is that how your church service is conducted? Can you find a similar verse in Scripture that talks about singing, an offering, and then a sermon?
Obviously, sermons can be preached, and even long-winded, somewhat boring sermons can be preached and our services still be Scriptural. Paul put one young man to sleep preaching, who then fell out of a window and was thought dead! (Acts 20:9).
But are we doing the other? Are Christians being encouraged to participate in Christian gatherings?
There are many other issues. They are the sorts of things I talk about on this blog. I pull those things from those who have statistics that look nothing like the ones I quoted above. I pull my topics from churches whose members are devoted to Christ almost across the board, who care about how they raise their children, who ask advice, who are held accountable, and who give their lives to Christ day by day, asking how they need to change to conform better to his will.
This isn’t condemnation. This is pleasing God. This is finding God’s will. And if we call ourselves Christians, then nothing else ought to matter to us.