What If Everyone In Your Church Was Like You?
One of the many things that seems to be troubling Christians these days is the rise of the so-called "Nones"--people who claim to have no religious affiliation at all. In fact, it's been widely reported that "None" is the fastest growing religion in America.
However, there is a trend that ought to be troubling Christians even more. I read an article not that long ago about the ever-increasing number of people who stop going to church every year. In this article they called them the "Dones"---as in they are done with church.
I've talked to more than a few people who are part of the "Dones," and listened to the stories of how they got to the point where they no longer wanted to be part of a church. Almost all of them cited the same reasons.
They talked about churches being filled with hypocrites, and how they were turned off when pastors asked for money. They also shared how they felt churches had become too political, too caught up in the hot-button issues of the day. The list goes on, and on. It's sobering to hear these things, and hard resist the urge to be defensive when you're hearing them.
I got to thinking about it, though, and I realized something. There are far more church-going Christians that are teetering on the edge of being "done" than we'd like to admit, and I think it's because most of us approach church with a consumer mentality.
In other words, we come to church concerned only with what we get out of it, and not what we're putting into it.
What if we all asked ourselves this very serious question: "What if every other church member in my church was like me?"
It was a form of that question that got me out of my spot in the back row of the church I was attending at the time. I was told that I'd been nominated to serve on a committee in the church, and my first question was "Who, me?" I kind of liked my back row spot. I liked sneaking in and out of church without being noticed.
But then I asked myself, "If everyone acted like me, what kind of church would this be?" And I stepped forward to serve.
In an exhortation to the ancient church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul admonished them to take care when they were coming together to worship and share the Lord's Supper. He told them, "Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup." (I Corinthians 11:28)
As Christians, we need to examine ourselves, and ask that challenging question. "What if everyone at my church was like me?" What if all of the things that are keeping us teetering on the edge of being "done" could be solved by our stepping off the back row?
May you rediscover a newfound love for the Church that transcends petty grumbling and dissatisfaction that has it's origin in our own selfishness. May you find the courage to step forward and worship, pray, grow love and serve your faith community in Jesus' name and to the glory of God alone.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.