A Call to Commitment
I want to introduce you to a mythical church member that I am going to call Kenny. When we first meet Kenny he is attending services at First Church but he left because the services were too formal, every one on the platform wore a tie. He and his family then wandered over to Grace Church because they had a great choir. But before long, we hear they are “happy” at the Christian Worship Center. But before long they move their membership to the Community Church because of the great bible teaching. After that the youth program at New Hope catches their eye. Now at least for the moment, they are at the church uptown, at least until something else catching their roving eye. What ever happened to commitment?
Why do you suppose that there are close to 100 million church members in America yet they are not making more of a moral and spiritual impact? Why is that on Sunday morning thousands of churches have more empty pews than full? Why is it that the average Sunday School in America has less than 66 in attendance and that the average worship service has 84? Why is it that only 50% of the number on any church membership roll can be expected to attend? If Christians really believe in a real heaven and a real Hell, how can we be so silent? . . . The answer to all of these questions is tragically simple! God’s people have made a decision about Jesus….but have never made a commitment to Him.” [Charles Stanley. Confronting Casual Christianity. (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985) pp. 23-33.]
There is of course a difference between a decision and a commitment. Perhaps this cannot be seen any clearer than it is in the failure rate of marriages in America. According to statistics at least 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Why do you suppose that is happening? Charles Stanley in his book, Confronting Casual Christianity, says that it is because these couples made a decision but did not make a commitment. Every person who married made a decision! They stood before a preacher and made promises and recited vows. They made a decision, they kissed each other and walked out together to live but not necessarily “happily ever after” and not necessarily together. So why did they divorce? The answer is that they made a decision, but they did not truly commit their lives to each other. But when a couple marries and makes a commitment to one another that is a different story. (Stanley. pp. 25-27)
The same is true in the church. The reason that the church is not making more of an impact in our society is that many church members made a decision about Christ, but have not made a commitment to Christ.
When the pilot of a giant airline is speeding down the runway, there is a certain point where it staying on the ground is no longer an option. When he crosses that line, he is committed to the air, he will take off or a disastrous crash is imminent. At the pilot the pilot can no longer change his mind he is committed.
Unfortunately churches are filled with members who have never got off the ground. They have been sitting there gunning their engines, making noise but getting nowhere. They have been planning on it, meaning to, wanting to, trying to, going to, aiming to, hoping to. But tragedy of tragedies, they have never got off the ground. ( Stanley, p. 30)