It’s been a hot minute since I wrote. Sometimes I forget I even have a place to write! My last post was back in March, not for lack of want, but maybe for lack of content. I have always said I won’t write just to write. And, I think we all know how 2020 has been going. Life has been crazy and weird, hasn’t it? I know the last 6 months have been some strange ones to say the least.
Let me bring you up to speed: Greg’s been working this whole time, which we consider a blessing. Our oldest daughter turned 14 last month, and our oldest son will turn 13 this week (read… I’m getting more gray hairs.) We’ve started a new school year with an 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, and 4th grader. I’ve embraced the Curly Girl Method and decided to just let my hair be the way God made it. I started Biblical Teaching classes this last week and I’ll begin a Thursday night Bible study this week. We celebrate 16 years of marriage on Friday!
Other than those things, life has been about the same- except we’ve been home a whole lot more. However, that hasn’t been a bad thing. As you can see, this last week has sent me from 0-100. I’m grateful though. I’m ready to be back and leading a Bible study. This class I’m taking was actually paid for by someone else, and I got a call last week letting me know. A huge blessing! I might have cried. Enough about me….
Let’s get to why I’m really writing today.
Other the past 6 months, churches have shut down and re-opened and maybe even shut down again. What has that left us with? A responsibility to own our personal relationship with Christ. It has forced us to take control of our own spiritual growth. OR, it has left you walking away from the faith you once had. Churches are seeing a 50% or less return to church upon reopening. I don’t have a source for that except for the pastors/church members that I have talked to. I believe it.
You see, Consumer Christianity has been prevalent in our culture. We come to church, asking “What can you do for me? What can you give me? What programs do you offer?” Well, for the last 6 months the church has had little to offer except an online service. No childcare, no studies, no fellowships or brunches, no anything.
Where has that left you?
Has that left you searching for ways to grow in your spiritual life that aren’t dependent on church? Has it led you to study the Bible for yourself instead of being spoon fed the Word? If you are looking for a great resource, I found the Give Me Jesus Journal (not an affiliate link) and absolutely love it. I can’t recommend it enough!
Or has this time found you deciding that your life is okay without church. That you don’t need the Christian fellowship. Have you enjoyed your Sunday mornings and become comfortable in doing your own thing? Have you replaced God as first in your life for the things you want?
A friend of ours says, “There is no Lone Ranger in the Christian life.” Can I get an amen to that? We were not meant to do life alone. We are told time and again in Scripture to encourage one another in love, to provoke one another to good works, to build each other up. It is time, y’all.
I’m an introvert. Most people think introverts have loved this time of isolation, but we haven’t. You see, we need people, too. The desire for deep relationships has left us down and out, depressed, and weary. I can’t imagine what it’s done to my extrovert counterparts. We are not meant to be alone. It’s time.
It’s time to get invested. Not in the church building, in people. Not in the events, but in our relationship with Christ first and foremost, and then with each other. It’s time to get back to discipling, mentoring, studying the Word, praying together. We’ve been distracted by a virus, haven’t we? We’ve started to look at people as a germ instead of a soul. We’ve become so afraid of an illness, that loving our neighbor means wearing a mask, instead of sharing the gospel. I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this, by the way. I’m not preaching at you, I’m preaching to me!
So, what’s it going to be, friends? If you haven’t been in church, what’s keeping you from going back?
Can I tell you something? If you didn’t love where you were when all of this started, it’s okay to go somewhere else. Maybe some pastors would disagree with me on that one, but I also think in the end, they would want you in church, even if it’s not theirs. I get it, church is hard and messy and we often get our feelings hurt, don’t we? You know why? It’s a bunch of imperfect people trying their best to lead other imperfect people into spiritual maturity. We get it wrong. We mess up. We aren’t perfect.
Can I encourage you today in two things? Okay, good!
First: It is time to take personal responsibility for your walk with Christ. The church may not always look like it did before. It may change. If you want a good dose of reality, I highly recommend that you subscribe to the Voice of the Martyrs magazine. It is focused on the persecuted church and will challenge you in your faith. We need to have what it takes to stand up under persecution when it comes.
Second: Get back to church. Don’t forsake the gathering of believers. Go, and SERVE. Find a place where you can use the gifts and talents God gave you for HIS glory, not your own. Don’t be self-seeking in serving. We get-to serve. It’s an honor and privilege to serve whether it’s rocking babies or leading a Bible study. One is not greater than the other, nor is one lesser than the other. Let’s let consumer Christianity die and instead of asking what the church can do for you, ask what you can do to help the church.