Leaving The Christian Church
Christian Book Review – A View From The Back Row
Does this unpopular opening line apply to churches?
As we look back on the pope’s recent visit to America, surveys continue to reveal non-Christians see no difference between churches and denominations. A common term used when describing churches and/or their members is hypocrite. And for good reason.
The typical American churchgoer warms a pew for an hour on Sunday and then lives the rest of the week just like everyone else. Jesus taught to walk the walk and talk the talk, but most of us struggle with the sacrifice and commitment required to follow His example. As the pope quoted in Philadelphia yesterday, Jesus said that ‘he who is for you is not against you.’
Jesus communicated with the religious leaders of his day. In my own community, there are a few thriving churches, several stagnant churches and a few that will soon close their doors. Some of the pastors get together periodically, but the joint ministry efforts are few and far between. Most churches and their members are isolated for one reason or the other. The only outreach they have is when a visitor happens to wander in on Sunday and a few members introduce themselves.
Outreach Begins with Communication
What would happen if, like a struggling marriage, we sat down and had a chat? Would we quickly descend into an argument over infant baptism, music, the book of Romans, etc. and/or would we be able to discuss things we have in common? Outreach opportunities we could accomplish together that no church in the area could pursue alone?
Not much has changed since Jesus’ day when it comes to organized religion. The primary problem may be as simple as the pastors fearing the loss of members (aka “giving units”) to another church. Or the loss of power and influence. Perhaps all we can do as individuals is reach out to our Christian neighbors and others when the opportunity to discuss what we have in common presents itself. Perhaps as we communicate more our leaders will begin to do the same. Again looking at history, revivals start at the bottom. Usually just a few who decided to pray.
Begin The Conversation
Are you seeking a way to reach out to someone in your community with whom you believe would benefit from a conversation with Christ? Consider utilizing one of the chapters in A View From The Back Row: What Happened To Our Church? to help make a more fulfilling connection.