I am troubled by what is happening in our culture. A recent newspaper article described how we are so divided in this country that we could be headed toward a civil war. Californians are discussing dividing into three different states, some liberal and some conservative. There is an increasing mindset toward socialism, where we give up our rights so the government can take care of us. Politicians in D.C. find little they can agree on. People are in a rancorous mood.
It is unfortunate, but the church is being influenced by the culture instead of the other way around. Can you imagine Christians being so divided, they have nothing to do with those who think differently?
Trevin Wax is one of the editors of our Sunday School literature. He wrote an article entitled,
“4 Big Challenges Facing the Church In The West Today.” Wax describes the church as in a crisis. This is statistically born out by the number of people who are leaving the church. Many in the younger generations have little interest in churchy things. Even though some are raised in Christian homes and church, they drop out either before or when they gradtuate high school. Parents lament that their kids won’t go to church, but think about it ... If you are being bombarded by secular media, being taught liberal curriculum by liberal teachers, devoting your spare time to sports, yielding to the peer pressure of friends, and living in an unstable home, what little Christian nurture you get is not enough. Even in stable homes, families are juggling multiple schedules. You can see how life seems stacked against growing in faithful obedience to Christ.
In Wax’s article, he says we are living in a day of rampant individualism. A more privatized faith. A lax morality. People are becoming more isolated, fragmented and polarized in their relationships. The church must find ways to counter these trends.
I am convinced that to counter all the above influences, one way we can move forward is to reignite our relationships with one another. Getting to know people breaks down barriers. As Christians, we must reengage with love, and learn to trust people as we seek the truth of God’s Word and apply it.
Here at FAITH, we are rebuilding relationships with God and one another through our THREE60 Small Groups. This fall, we have 15 groups kicking-off that have caring leaders. Each group is challenged to engage in six essentials: building (1) healthy and (2) accountable relationships, (3) studying and (4) applying scripture, reaching out (5) evangelistically, and (6) praying for needs. Each of these essentials are necessary for a growing Christian. If we want to counter the cultural influences we live in, we must practice a biblical faith in the context of relationships. We talk about sitting in circles where we can be more honest with one another. A star has five ends, a square four ends, a triangle three ends, a line two ends, but there is something about the circle of friendship that has no end. It is in the circle of relationships that we meet God and one another.
I know we are all busy. Schedules get complicated. If you are serving in a ministry in our church, you may not be able to add one more thing to your busy schedule. Yet, a small group of caring people can help you face some of the issues you struggle with and help you grow in Christ. Go online to welcometo.faith and see if there is a group of interest. Let’s become influencers of our culture instead of being influenced by it.