I was fortunate to be born, and raised in a simple two bedroom flat, and in a good neighbourhood. We knew our neighbours. None were rich and at the beginning at least, all were rented. The streets were safe, and I was able to play outside with my pals without fear of any unwanted approach or abuse.
Fast forward some 50 years and the once ‘des-res’ area has turned out to be a slum. It is discouraging to drive past my once safe and happy neighbourhood. So what happened?
Slowly over the years, little things changed. Not that anyone took notice at the time, after all when things happen that slowly, you hardly notice each change. It is only when the years have passed that you can look back to see and compare the way it was, to the way it has become.
I was thinking about churches in general, but my own church in particular. Sure there have been changes over that same 50 years, and not all bad! Having said that, I believe some things have changed and not for the best. We move with the times in how we worship and the kind of music we like, but the biggest change is the size of the congregation. Having been a member of the same church for all those years, I can see the differences in the things we seem to accept. Let me get something straight. I am not saying my church is a slum, however I am noticing that the little changes which went unnoticed over the years have resulted in a big difference today. I also agree that church holds little appeal to the youth, and without young blood, we eventually die.
The last point, and the one which started me going down this rabbit hole is this. Why continue to accept and attend a church which says one thing officially and publicly, but in practice much of the the membership do not uphold these same principles? The convictions we once held so closely, have been sold for a ‘mess of lentils’ and we are left with a diluted gospel. Are lives being changed? Is holiness being preached and lived out? Do we make room for decisions in our services? Where is repentance? Who carries a Bible? Does the local community know who we are, and what we stand for? Are we so much like the outside world that we have lost the difference that made us who we once were? Could that be one reason for the drop in attendance over the past years? I’ll leave you with this final thought. How do you answer the friend who says to you, “I didn’t think your church did that?”
I want to encourage you to fight hard for the faith that God gave his holy people. God gave this faith once, and it is good for all time. Jude 1:3