Unthinkable exists to strengthen the Church. When I say the Church, I mean the larger body of Christ’s followers, not simply an individual church. Our idea is that when the Church focuses more on loving God and people, better than it currently is, we will be stronger and the Great Commission will go forward more effectively. Unfortunately, statistics show that we have our work cut out for us. According to The Barna Group ”three out of every five young Christians (59%) disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15.” Those statistics are sad and can be disheartening but as people on mission we can’t allow them to throw us off. Instead we must use them as motivation and try to figure out why disengagement from the Church is happening at such a rapid rate.
The people that I know who grew up in the Church, and are no longer engaged in a local church, don’t seem to be really bothered by their lack of engagement. For the most part they know where they can go if they would like to be a part of a church but they choose not to. I’ve heard many of my Christian brothers and sisters speak about how hard it is to get someone to come to church on a day where those people would rather just sleep in. That is an oversimplification. It has more to do with how they view the Church than their desire to rest.
Human beings are inherently very selfish. If we believe that something can some how help us, we’re there. I’ll wake up at 6am on any day of the week if someone wants to give me $1,000. (I run a non-profit, I’d probably do it for $10.) When I was single, I would have woken up with the sun if the right girl came along and asked me to. Remember Christmas as a child? We wake up when its worth it to us. The problem is that people who are not currently a part of a church simply do not think it is worth it. They may even like the idea of church, but for whatever reason they value other things more in this season of their life. Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that some people are just lazy and they do want to sleep in. Some people are also Atheists and thus see not reason to wake up for a fake god. Those two are exceptions. In America, however, they are not the rules. Most adult Americans do work or are enrolled in full-time education. They aren’t lazy. Additionally, 76% of Americans claim to be Christians. Lazy people and Atheists are the exceptions, not the rule. Now back to the point.
I wonder how church attendance and involvement would change if we looked more like the early Church in Acts. What if Christians stopped finding hope in our stuff and began selling our possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to other brothers and sisters? What if we joined collectively as the body of Christ over meals, and in one spirit began to thank God for what he has given us? What if we served the poor and the needy together? What if we allowed our Bible teachers to really teach the Word rather than simply play to speaker preferences of the crowd? What if we cared more about the authenticity of our worship rather than the instrument they are being led with? What if we resolved our internal problems like grateful sinners who have all been saved instead of self-righteous people who feel they always have to be right? Is it possible that we could ever return to that place in Acts 2:47 where our churches begin seeing more people being saved every day?
People aren’t skipping out on church because they are just sleepy. People are skipping out on church because they don’t see anything special in it. We talk about having the Holy Spirit of God in us, but very few actually use it. We talk about really changing souls for glory of God, but many churches baptized NO ONE last year. We talk about being generous givers, but only an estimated 4% of the adult population in America are actually tithing (source: Barna).
So many of us, myself included, have stopped paying attention to certain parts of what it means to be a Christ follower and the Church is hurting because of it. Do you want more people engaged in your Church? Ask yourself how YOU are actually doing in these areas. Are you giving generously? Are you learning the Bible from solid teachers? Are you serving the poor? Are you gracious with internal conflicts? Are you getting all hung up on music preferences?
What are you doing to change the trajectory of those who have become disengaged in the Church? If you are a Christ follower, you can not sit on the side lines. Its time to get to work. The eternal rest of souls and, more importantly, the glory of God on earth is at stake.
Go be UNTHINKABLE today!