Music, decor, seat comfort, programs, communion flavor, coffee quality. There's a lot of reasons that someone might get upset or frustrated with their place of worship. Some reasons are a reflection of the fallenness of the visitor, while others are a deep seated error in the infrastructure of the church. I came up with this list because I wanted to address the crisis of young adults and families leaving the evangelical churches. We are losing the modern generation by the bucket load. You can blame the devil, you can blame culture, but you have to wonder why the church is not being a light on a hill scooping up those hungry for truth. You can check out the facts of church decline at this link: https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/
We win souls when they know what we care about. That is why I want to bring up some fights that need to be prioritized and some fights that need to be trashed.
Let's get ready to rumble!!!
1. Fight unbiblical culture
The Bible has a lot to say about the world and it doesn't take long for an unbeliever to have a bone to pick with our belief system. As a firm believer in the message of scripture and God's plan, it is not my job to convince everyone that X is good and Y is bad. It is also not my job to make up a bullet proof argument as to why God loves you and sent His son to die for you. However, I am not to sit idly by while someone posts that "Jesus affirms homosexuality in his ministry," "All is hopeless in the world," or that "Feeding the poor is a socialist tactic." How you choose to peacefully and tactfully address the issue (in hopes to win a person, rather than a fight) is up to you. We are fighting for the advantage of the listener, giving them an option to consider. The Bible can defend itself, but our culture can get swept away and that is why we fight.
2. Don't fight for government absolutes
Don't get it twisted. I am not asking you to stop voting or not to pray for a senator. I am not asking you to write to your congressman about an abortion bill. I am, most assuredly, asking you not to make a government policy your standard for morality and perfection. So many Christian influencers believe their highest goal is to make sure communism is not uttered or practiced. Christians will fight for the constitution, but fail to remember the common sense behind "love thy neighbor" and "do unto others" (which should carry more weight). Government is imperfect and on loan from Jesus. It's good to work it and form it into a society that honors God. But don't let a government's belief system replace your Bible.
3. Fight for the downtrodden and hurt
The pandemic has been a litmus test for how much we care about the needs of others in our community. In some cases, the church has sprung up and led the example of health and safety. In too many examples, the body is being stubborn and moody about it (I think one is too many). Unfortunately, the world will not take our defiance of government pandemic laws as proof that we are true patriots who love the freedoms of our country. They will see us as negligent and careless people who do not care about the safety of others. Here's where humility and servanthood need to be the main driver of our attitude. When others say "that hurts me, could you not do that?" do we fight for them or do we fight against them? Are we adding to their woes or showing that we care?
4. Don't fight against "western persecution"
Show me a nation that says Christians can't teach, congregate (personally or virtually), and share to others and I will say "That is North Korea and Syria." I will not say that is Western countries. Here's how I know we are not being persecuted. I can go to a Google search and find an article where you tell me that we are being persecuted. You can boldly tell me that President Biden is persecuting you. Guess what? You won't be in jail, fined, or chastised (except Twitter will argue with you). Sometimes our articles, posts, and events are harassed or taken down by businesses (business is not government). I am not saying that America, Canada, or England won't persecute us in the future, but I will say it will look a lot different than the discomfort we feel now.
But let's pretend that America becomes an atheist controlled state overnight. How should we act? Hide your guns? Storm the beaches? Protest Twitter? Peter gives us this sobering message about persecution and how we should handle it. 1 Peter 4:12 My dear brothers, do not be surprised by the hard trouble like fire that comes to test you. Do not think some new thing is happening to you.
13 Be glad when you suffer as Christ did. Then you will also be very glad when he comes and you see how great he is.
14 Do men say wrong things about you because you are a Christian? Then you are blessed because the wonderful Spirit, the Spirit of God, is with you.
5. Fight for a holy church
A pastor has the hardest job in the world. They have to raise up a flock of believers that represent Jesus and his perfect love. When the church fails, they look at him to cast blame. What a raw deal for a job that doesn't pay more than 40k. It's not just the pastor's job to raise up followers in holy culture. The church needs to build up others to follow Christ's example. It needs to sweep the community like a communicable disease. A church with many elders, mentors, and teachers following the same vision is a powerful thing.
6. Don't fight within the church
When a Christian influencer tweets a criticism on our church behavior, why do pastors and armchair theologians lineup to disown them and make them feel like trash? That is cannibalism from within and it's ugly. Jesus says that the greatest evangelism technique is how we love each other. A simple stroll through Facebook meme pages and theology joke pages shows how nasty we can be to other believers. We diss arminists and calvinists. Catholics are always fresh bait for attack. It seems like we have drawn a line between the super saved and the kind of saved. Don't misunderstand, criticism toward ideas should be a part of our conversation (without using social media for best results), but the constant disrespect is a bullet in the Bride's head.