In the previous post I mentioned the need to win people to Jesus rather than trying to win them to this church or that church. If you listen to what people are saying the tendency is to win them to church attendance rather than winning them to salvation. I don’t think anyone would outright say that but you still here things like, “They quit coming to church” or “I sure hope Johnny will come back to church.” Jesus didn’t say if you are weary and burdened come to church for rest. He said, “Come to me and rest.” When Jesus commissioned the apostles to go and make disciples he didn’t say to do it in the name of the Church of Christ or this church or that church. He said to do it in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am not saying the congregating of God’s people is unimportant or that we should scrap Sunday’s corporate assembly. I am saying we have to get first things first and understand we aren’t winning them to church attendance. We are trying to bring them to Jesus. We get so wrapped up in our identity as a congregation but I don’t think it was like that in the early church. I think they loved spending so much time together because of their common bond in Christ.
Let our actions and attitudes reflect the priority of Jesus Christ. May our invitation be to Jesus first. My prayer is that congregational life is vibrant and full and centered on the common identity we find in Christ and that we are drawing people first and foremost to a who and not to a what. Only when we start seeing the issue of a missing generation through that lens will we be able to find the answers we are looking for. The answer is not to elevate the institution higher, which is the knee-jerk reaction of some. The answer is to elevate Christ. When we do that they will come, not because the congregation is so holy and perfect and flawless but because they find real, authentic connection with Christ in our midst. Young people aren’t looking for the perfect congregation. They are smart enough to know it doesn’t exist. They are looking for a Savior. Will we help them find Jesus? How are the things where you are currently worshipping or ministering lifting up Christ in visible and obvious ways? What are some ways we fill our time and ministry with distractions instead?