Sometimes I wonder what I will look back at in 10 or 20 or even 30 years and regret in regard to Christianity and church.
Here is the main thing I think we are going to look at and shake our heads at our past selves – we couldn’t get outside ourselves, outside our comfort zones, and reach the lost.
It makes sense to me that if we stop studying the Bible with non-Christians and create environments almost exclusively for people who already know Jesus that we won’t grow…that we will decline. I imagine there is a direct relationship between amount of evangelistic Bible study in a congregation and the rise or decline of that congregation.
We got used to a world where we could “grow” without having to do this. New people would move to town who were “church of Christ” and they would visit.
That isn’t so much the case anymore.
So now we have to do what we were told to do by Jesus (go and make disciples) but we have adjusted to a style of church where that is outside our comfort zones. It just isn’t normal. Isn’t that sad. Correct me if I am wrong – evangelism is abnormal. I really can’t believe I am saying that but I think that is true.
If we don’t get back to reaching out to and studying with those who don’t know Jesus we (Churches of Christ) will be a shell of our former selves in 20 years or less.
Are you going to look back in 20 years and ask yourself why you didn’t do something about this 20 years prior?
I don’t think it is that complicated. The crazy thing is, this is what the Bible tells us to do and we are the people who say we do all the Bible tells us to do – we shouldn’t have missed this but we did and if we don’t turn this around we are in trouble.
I guess I would add regret over not having done anything about those walking out the door but rather watching them go and the benign neglect of others who were not wanted. Also regret over not learning anything about the competing religions which have some appeal. As much as some may not want to discuss this, the Buddhist teachings appeal to quite a few looking for calm, answers, and an example. The lack of preaching on and knowledge of Jesus and his teachings made cofC Christianity a hard religion to keep when life got difficult.
We are often too afraid to present the other side lest someone fall into the snare of false religion.