Dear FBC family,
As always, I am meditating on God’s Word and thinking deeply about our church family and discovering some things about us that make us unusual to the typical church goer. When people come to visit us, they see wonderful things like joy, genuineness and a love for one another. Often they are greeted, welcomed, plus they hear the Word taught in context seeking the authors intended meaning, a valuing of biblical principles and a minimizing of cultural preferences and more. Our first impression is often pretty HIGH. I hear new visitors say, “I love this church,” “I am coming here” or “we are making this our church home” almost every week. As a result, you would think we would be a VERY large—potentially a mega—church [not our goal, but you would think that might happen with that kind of regular response].
BUT THEN SOMETHING HAPPENS. In a short period of time, people begin to hear some biblical expectations – ONE is to be integrated into the body life of the church, including discipleship, fellowship, one anothering, the need for relationship with each other in order to be a healthy Christian and to grow spiritually. TWO is the biblical command to serve one another in ministry, to give of yourself away in order for the body to grow, for you to grow, for God to be glorified and for each believer to be obedient.
Those same people who couldn’t wait to make FBC their church home FADE AWAY. There are many reasons for this…
- They have been taught all their lives that just showing up to church was enough.
- They have attended churches where everything is done for them by the paid pastor or pastors, and it is all about them and for them, since they are the customer and the church is in the business of selling God.
- They are part of a culture that is focused on self, on getting, on problems must have solutions and everything is about ME, not God.
- They are really untaught and have no idea how God designed His church to function.
- They are not born again, but think because they have prayed a prayer, or walked an isle or signed a card once, that they are saved – but have never come to the point where they saw the ugliness of their sin, turned in desperation to Christ, crying out to be forgiven where the Lord open their eyes and they responded in faith and repentance – being BORN AGAIN, so that now they are willing to do whatever Christ wants and willing to do whatever He asks of them.
I continue to agonize trying to do all I can under the sovereign work of God to help those who visit us so that THEY would see Christ and His Gospel accurately and so they would see the BRIDE OF CHRIST the way God designed her to function.
There is so much more to say on this subject, and I am certain you have wonderful truths to add to what is here, but I would ask you as well to pray that God would help us to make the gospel more clear and the normal everyday expectations of each individual Christian toward the church clear to ALL who walk through our doors on Sunday and to all we meet in our community.