Why do people resist church so much? Yes, those who are a part of church need to be concerned with the valid aspects of the critique that religious people are hypocrites and out-of-touch with the intersection of faith and daily life. But there is a significant underlying reason. Our culture believes that most everyone is a good person, and that God is loving so that he gives heaven to all such good people. In other words, say you believe in God and you’re on the heaven journey.
The Bible and Jesus, in particular, don’t agree with this assumption. It’s a dangerous moment in our culture when we view salvation in such a cavalier manner. The issue is not to say that one needs to go to worship or go to hell. The issue is to develop a fresh sense of urgency in our congregations that says people desperately need the Savior Jesus for the salvation which begins now and continues through all eternity.
Otherwise, church is just a group of, hopefully, nice people. But there are many groups of people who desire to do good things in the world and create community. Since our congregations have often accepted the cultural assumptions for the salvation journey, we are often spectators and not Spirit-driven disciples on a mission.
Make no mistake, this requires a miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit to transform us. As always, our job is to plant and water while God works on the harvest. So how do we plant and water?
- We preach an urgency that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus.
- We develop events which can start relationships for those not connected to the Jesus journey.
- We encourage people to have an elevator speech for how Jesus is important to them.
- We equip people for incorporating spiritual matters in authentic daily conversations.
If such a process is daunting to you, there are resources which can equip people to go from spectator to disciple maker/leader. One such resource from The Effective Church Group is the Lay Leadership DVD Training.
In today’s church, leaders will be disciple makers and disciple makers will be leaders. It is a time when we can either bemoan that the laborers are few, or we can celebrate/embrace the laborers who are ready to take the next step for the sake of the Jesus journey.