About once a month I come across a new article that is addressing the fact that so many people are leaving the Church. Most articles have a tone of fear and are an attempt to diagnose what we need to do to try and keep people in the doors.
To be honest, it drives me bonkers.
I have nothing against looking at a problem and diagnosing solutions. That is all good and needed in it’s proper place
I DO have a problem with a spirit of fear.
The problem with fear is that it dampens faith.
We are people of faith. Everything we do or say should be done in faith. In fact, the Word of God tells us in Romans 14:23 that “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Our words, voices, songs, and actions should be blowing faith into the lives of other believers…and hopefully non-believers too.
Is Christianity dying? Is the Church failing? Did Jesus fail in John 6?
People reject and rebel against Christ for all sorts of reasons. It’s truly heartbreaking and we should all (pastors, mothers, artists, lawyers, construction workers…) spend our lives working to reconcile them back to the Lord. (1 Cor. 5:11-21)
But instead of fretting about why they are rejecting and rebelling, I believe in the core of my being that we will have greater influence if we focus on the reason why we believe and follow Jesus.
In John 6, the crowds turned away from Jesus after he was teaching things that they didn’t really like hearing. They turned away from the physical, tangible, audible Jesus standing right in front of them.
Jesus then turned to His disciples and asked them, “are you going too?”
Peter, in spite of all his boneheaded moments, has a rockstar answer to this question:
Where would we go when you have the words of life? By them we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.
Peter wasn’t full of fear when asked this question, he was full of faith!
He had an answer. He had a reason for why he stayed.
The words of Jesus were deeply and powerfully life-giving to Peter.
That same Peter encourages us in this later on,
Always be ready to give an an answer to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect…1 Peter 3:15-16
So why do you believe?
Stop worrying and fretting about why people are leaving. Instead, let’s take this opportunity to examine ourselves. Let’s take this opportunity to really solidify our and own our convictions.
One of my most recent mantras is this: you can’t inspire others unless you are inspired yourself.
We aren’t going to inspire others to follow and believe Jesus unless we really know why we are following and believe in Him.
Maybe we have so much fear because, if we are honest, we don’t really know why we believe in Jesus.
Well, now would be the glorious time to seek and find…come taste and see.
Don’t be disheartened by the all the faith dampening fear blowing through the airways.
We walk by faith and not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7
America may be changing, but some things never change.
The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen.1 Peter 5:11
I was so deeply stirred by these issues and by the Word of God in John 6 that I wrote a song about it for our most recent album. If you listen to it, I’m hoping that it will blow faith and encouragement today into your heart and mind. You can take a listen below.