Summary: A challenge to share your faith.
The May 9, 2019 edition of the Baptist Record has this story on page 8, “Church Rolls Continue Downward Trend, Survey Says.” This means: “In our state (the most “churched” state in the Union), we have over 50% of the population not connected with anyone’s church (anyone’s!!), while, our churches are slowly dying.” Honestly, few church members will admit their church is dying because they ‘love their church’ SO much. It almost seems to me like, “If I don’t admit it, then it’s not real.” Yet, the reality is obvious to everyone else & denial doesn’t change a thing.
• As someone who works minimally in Emergency response of my community, this is what I have discovered; if a person’s life blood is slipping away, no matter how slowly, if some action is not taken, they will die. Generally, physically, we must stop the bleeding & then give a transfusion to rebuild the system. The same is true for the church.
• Our association paints a pic. From 2008 – 2018 Baptisms down 32%, Other additions down 37%, Mission Giving down 20%, & as best as I can tell, Worship Attendance is down over 20%. All of this is happening while our population is growing. Does this strike you as it does me?
• Add to these truths Jesus’ last words & we scratch our heads. The last words a person speaks before they are gone are very significant. It is the most important thing on their heart. Such is the case with Jesus. Combined His last words & hear what He said, “All authority has been given to me and I’m giving it to you.” WOW! Did you catch that? Then He continued, “So as you are going into this world, be my witnesses by making disciples of all people.” Any questions thus far? He goes on to say, “Start in Jerusalem (at home), then Judea (neighboring, friendly areas), then go to Samaria (where no one wants to go), and then the rest of the world.” He has sent His Holy Spirit to us, and what He told us to do (requires of us, ordered us), is to CARRY HIS MESSAGE OF HOPE & LIFE to people who don’t know Him
• Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth, lived as man, endured the cross, rose from the dead, ascended back to heaven, & is seated at the right hand of God offering salvation and making intercession for us. The result of all that is going on in our culture is that churches are dying because people are dying because the Christian witness is dying.
• Let me speak to this in 2 dimensions: physical and spiritual.
• In the physical realm, I have spent the entirety of my life in the USA, so the culture of the USA is what I somewhat know and am familiar with. Our convention cannot stand another 25 years like the last 25. If my kids & grandkids are going to enjoy freedom of religion & a relationship with Christ, we must be sharing the gospel today. Senior Adults, remember when you first were married & you began back then thinking about retirement and making a way to live in your retirement years? What you did back then (good or bad) largely shapes your life today. Middle agers, what we do today will determine how this culture will or won’t be when you arrive at Senior status. Young people? You get the idea. When I was a teenager, I was consistently told that we were only one generation from a pagan culture. When I became a young adult that changed to: We were only a half generation from a pagan culture. Today? Well, who would have ever thought that Islam and Socialism would be welcomed into this country that has been the bastion of freedom & Christianity? In physical terms, we are on a greased pole.
• How about spiritually? What is the spiritual impact in our day? Listen carefully; my precious grandchildren need Jesus (to get into heaven) just as much as I did and do. We have spent so much time making excuses for our sweet children and their lack of need for the Lord that many may not enter the Kingdom and you know what that means?
• Some people will accuse me of pulling at our heart strings to think my little 5-year old Caffrey will end up in a place called hell if he does not receive Jesus as his personal Lord & Savior, placing his complete faith in Jesus, as well as putting his little life completely in the hand of Jesus. Here is my response to that accusation: BINGO! You are right!
• We have become so indifferent to the faith needs of our children that our hearts are cold and hard about the dire need we find ourselves in.