As a younger pastor, I learned that I had respectability in the community. I’ve been asked to speak and pray before various groups that weren’t specifically Christian. I’ve even had a few opportunities in public schools. Those opportunities are gone or at least fading.
Some wring their hands over the situation and talk about the “good ole days.” But we need to remember that first century Christianity had no homefield advantage and encountered hostility from a number of sources, yet the Christian faith not only survived, but thrived.
I remember when being a member of a congregation was a plus. If you wanted standing in the community or to make contacts for sales, being a church member could certainly open some doors. But there was a downside. Local churches had people on the roll who were not committed to the truths of the faith and consequently, the moral standards of the church suffered. Believers aren’t perfect (1 John 1:8). But if there are no standards of biblical belief and behavior, the congregation suffers.
I’ve observed a number of younger adults who are very committed to Christ. They stand out from church members from years ago. They helps to demonstrate the power of the gospel to change lives.
Today most who attend church are serious about the faith. Yes, some may be exploring, but the majority of those who are there have a genuine faith in Jesus and want to live for him.
In the past, many were inoculated against the faith. They figured they were genuine believers because they had a church membership. People today in our society are less likely to profess being Christians, so this can open the door to talk about the claims of Christ.
Christ’s message needs to go to all. The mission field has come to us, and we need to make use of the opportunities God has given us to share the gospel.
Ashton C. Smith, Certified Church Consultant