There is an overwhelming shift occurring in the American church of today. Christians who are disgusted by the church. Christians who do not want to associate themselves with the church. A massive exodus of believers who are leaving the church. This deeply grieves my heart. Yet paradoxically, I find myself gravitating in this direction. I recognize the grotesque disparity in the American church of today in comparison to what the bride of Christ is called to look like.
When we look back in time we can always see the pendulum swings. Whether it be in fashion, law, government, church, music, etc. One year we all wear baggy shirts, the next they are tight, one election the democrats win by land slides, and the next they lose the majority. When looking at these pendulum swings in our society we all try to achieve a balance, one that comes with wisdom, foresight, and lot’s of humility. This is my attempt at just that.
This mass exodus from the church is one of those swings. In the sixties and seventies our country turned away from the church, in what some people refer to as the end of God’s hand in our country’s government. From the 1962 Supreme Court’s decision that prayer was no longer allowed in schools to the 1973 decision to legalize abortion. I believe that as a result of this last extreme swing Christians in our country began to isolate themselves from society, they began to “take refuge” and “protect” themselves from “the world”. And now the swing in the other direction has picked up momentum. We ae feeling it’s pull.
I think what we as the modern day church are struggling with is the tension that is pulling us back again.
And obviously, there is a perfect balance, one in which people are not being judged by Christians, but one where truth is spoken in love, where protection from the world is not our sole concern, but helping to save the lost is, one where justice and mercy are the forerunners in the message of the church. You know, that perfect balance that we saw Jesus walk as he created the model for the church of today?
Coming face to face with this tension is hard. And I think this tension is what is pulling many Christians away from the church. The church of Christ, the bride of Christ, the one pure and spotless bride, the only hope of reaching the nations. We are feeling the tension, the pendulum is swinging. We no longer want to create Jesus clubs in our communities. We no longer want to isolate our children, and judge our walks by the size house we live in or the amount of bible studies we’ve attended. Yet, the church is not moving with us, therefore many are choosing to leave the church behind.
Did you know that Jesus does not return for any NGO? He returns for his bride, the church.
So how do we walk this line, one in which we no longer want to be apart of Jesus Clubs but want to shamelessly leave it all behind? One in which we are open to being broken, poor, used, and condemned for the sake of the gospel?
I don’t want to leave the church behind for an organization. No matter how wise we believe we are, we cannot create an organization that Jesus will return for. He created the church for that purpose, so we must not abandon the church. That is not the answer. Although tempting, and somewhat justified at this point, it is not the will of God for His people to leave His bride behind.
The latest statistics suggest that 80% of young people today will leave the church when they leave their parents homes and never return. We have done something wrong.
Help us to find the balance. Help us to abandon the stain glass window approach of building us and ours, and help us to reach out to the lost and dying. Help us to see that our level of comfort here does not equivocate to our level of obedience.
And God help your church to see the truth.
Please help me to be obedient and humble in my place amongst the church of America.
God we repent from being to inwardly focused and we say, remind us of those out there who will spend an eternity separated from you if we do not shamelessly leave it all behind.