Every Thursday I’ll send a note to your inbox with a devotional thought designed to help connect you with God, information about what’s going on at The Church at Clayton Crossings, and some fun facts to help us get to know one another.
What I’m thinking:
There’s a growing segment of the American population that self-identify as “done” with church. For the most part, these are people of faith who are finding the exit doors of the church in increasing numbers each year. They don’t have feelings of anger, bitterness, or hostility when they think about church – they’ve simply decided that affiliation with a local church has become irrelevant and unimportant.
So what can The Church at Clayton Crossings do to stem the tide of people walking away from God and the church? Isn’t everyone important? Let’s lay aside the Great Commission for a moment (thankfully, we don’t do that around here!) and think about the implications of Christians leaving the church. The Apostle Paul compared the church to a body, made up of interdependent parts that need one another to function properly (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
Stay with me for a moment: imagine how poorly a body would function without a foot, two legs, a liver, and a brain. Sounds kind of sad (and super gross), but you get the idea–we need each other!
With that in mind, here are a couple of ways we can do to help re-connect the “dones”:
OK, this seems kind of obvious, but if we’re lamenting the fact that people have walked away from the church, imagine the sadness God must feel when His children no longer want to be with Him. God wants the relationship restored even more than we do! Spend time praying that God will open doors for interaction and relationship.
As I’ve studied Jesus’ interactions with people, He didn’t spend His time issuing decrees and commandments. Most often, He asked questions and He listened to their responses. Seek to build a relationship by asking questions and listening.
It’s no surprise that some people feel the church is a gathering place for the mean-spirited and judgmental. Let’s help correct that perception by avoiding condemnation in our interactions. What does that sound like? Well, if you find yourself using words like “heathen,” “sinner,” “reprobate,” or “backslider,” you’re probably doing it wrong. Let’s leave the job of transformation to God!
Own our shortcomings.
Let’s admit the obvious – we’re imperfect people who live in a fallen world, but we serve a perfect God. It’s our goal to become more like Him every day. Sure, we’ll hit some bumps along the way, but we’re going to strive to live for God’s agenda and not our own.
Offer multiple entrance ramps.
Maybe the intimate setting of a small group Bible study is the best place for someone to re-engage in the church, or perhaps they prefer to blend in with a larger crowd at the Sunday morning worship service. Getting to know a person’s personality will go a long way to help you discover the best point of entry, but the best thing you can do is to be right beside them whenever they decide to return.
Lastly, if you’re someone who has decided to be done with church, please hear the heart behind this post. You are missed, and you are loved. Please forgive us where we have failed to represent and serve God well. I hope you’ll walk with us as we try, every day, to become more like Jesus.
Praying for you-
“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6 NLT
What I need to remember:
- VOTE TO AFFIRM THE 2016 BUDGET THIS SUNDAY. OK, I could make up something about not voting on Wednesday night during our Partnership meeting, but the truth is I forgot to ask for a vote. Oops! We’ll carve a couple of minutes out of our worship service on Sunday to allow our partners (members) to vote. Unless, of course, I forget. Again.
- BAPTISM Our next baptism is scheduled for Sunday, January 17. Let us celebrate the transformation Jesus has made in your life and sign up today – the list is already getting pretty long!
- TRANSFORM – NEW SERMON SERIES BEGINS JANUARY 10 One of the ways to truly change your life is to change the way you think. During this series, we’ll talk about the habits, truths, and characteristics that enable lasting change.
What I’m reading:
Epic Families, Equipping Parents to Inspire Their Children to Know God: A Guide for Parents and Church Staff by Beth Meltzer
What I’m listening to:
- The Worship Initiative by Shane and Shane. Vocal harmony as God intended!
- Frames by Lee DeWyze – it’s been a really heavy week, so Lee’s been singing me some mellow tunes.
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.
Let’s be friends: