Why Would Anyone Become a Christian Today?

Why would anyone become a Christian today…..let alone join a church!

Pastor LaVonne Brown

This is a profound question and one I believe the church must address Now! It’s an issue that has been ruminating in my head for quite a while now, and was recently brought to the forefront of urgency when I happened across an article entitled: “Church without God – by Design.”

Church??  By design??  Without God??  Quite an oxymoron to consider.

And yet, there is a growing percentage of non-believers, self defined atheists, that are coming together for the purpose of forming a place of “community”, a “Humanist community”,  “a place where people can belong”.

Why are people leaving the church or refusing to join? Studies have shown and it’s pretty plain to see by the number of shrinking church congregations that people, even ministers are leaving the church in large numbers every year.  

Disturbing trends:

According to the PEW Forum, “the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion also has grown in recent years; indeed, about one-fifth of the public overall – and a third of adults under age 30 – are religiously unaffiliated as of 2012. Fully a third of U.S. adults say they do not consider themselves a “religious person.” And two-thirds of Americans – affiliated and unaffiliated alike – say religion is losing its influence in Americans’ lives.” (1)

In addition, a 2010 study by the Barna Group, survey showed one of the least favorite biblical principles may be "Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow" (Hebrews 13:17, NLT).  (2)

One might hypothesize that people have left the church or don’t join because they “don’t want folks in their business” or don’t want to be held to any sort of accountability. However, according to this same Barna group study, only 5% of Christians indicated that their church does anything. to hold them accountable for integrating biblical beliefs and principles into their life”. And this report goes on to say, “The most frequent method—accountability through the relationships developed in small groups—is practiced in the lives of only 2% of all self-described Christians in the nation. Other forms are found in the lives of 1% or fewer Christians.”  (2)

Yet people do desire and seek out safe places for the purpose of connecting and relationship. This carries through in these atheist gatherings. There is even a “chaplain”, and one is quoted as saying, "When you become a part of this congregation, this community, you are going to become part of a family”. These groups meet on Sunday mornings and teach things they believe in, such as “compassion, evolution or acceptance”, and even have an equivalent of Sunday school for the children, who get lessons on similar topics.  There’s even a former evangelical minister who has joined this community and is using his pastoral experience to build an atheist church.

The article goes on to say in various places, "What we are looking at doing is different,” "If you are a religionist and you come and sit in our pew, the only way you can leave offended is because of what you don’t hear and what you don’t see. We won’t be there to make a stance against religion or against God “ and “The success of an atheist church will depend on walking the thin line between too much and too little ritual, Epstein said., as well as Humanists boast a proud freethinking streak, and some at the Harvard event said they don’t want to be associated with any sort of dogma or belief system - or even a system based on disbelief”.

Wow!  No prejudging or “religion”. What lessons can we learn from this particular exodus and what are people really turning away from?

The irony of this Church without God is that in the beginning God created man to have fellowship with Him. When Jesus created His church, He brings us back to God’s  first intention of fellowship, koinonia, “community with Him.  We were created with the desire for community in our DNA! That’s why no matter how we try to escape fellowshipping with God or each other, we still cannot break away from the desire to fellowship.  We must connect and have a sense of belonging. 

The corporate church, the body of Christ cannot afford in this critical hour to postulate, wax spiritual, become defensive, judgmental or justify with scriptures and condemnation those who leave the church and their reasons for leaving.  I believe it is this very type of negative behavior that has occurred within the body of Christ and amongst believers that has driven many to seek places outside of Christianity where they can have a sense of belonging, ie community, without criticism, scrutiny, judgment and over bearing traditions of men. 

Where have we missed it as the body of Christ, where people want the body, the community, but NO God?  Are they truly running from God? Or are they running from the form of God man has presented?  I think it’s the latter. 

Why do I say that? Because in His purest form, God is love. 1 John 4:8 says, He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  Who have you ever know to run away from pure love? We all have an innate desire to be accepted and loved.

Jesus said in John 13:33-34 A new commandment I give you that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this [love] all men will know you are my disciples, if you keep on showing love among yourselves.

Prior to this command, the commandments instructed us to love God, but now we see Jesus ushering in a new command……………love one another.

Sounds pretty simple right?  All we have to do is to show love to one another. BUT…..what type love and HOW do I show it?  Most of us have developed firm ideas of what love is and how we demonstrate or want to receive it. However, the Holy Spirit left us clear guidelines on exactly how to show Gods kind of love and in what situations. 

1Corinthians 13:1-8 gives us clear guidelines on how we as Christians should be conduits and demonstrators of God’s love as we interact with those around us and live this life. While this may be a very familiar passage of scripture, let us take a moment and ask ourselves….. am I genuinely loving those around me in this way? Are my emotions, my actions, my responses disciplined and conformed to the Holy Spirits instruction? What type of love are people experiencing from me? Is Christ and His type of love being revealed in and through me?

The Bible tells us, “God’s love endures long. It’s patient and kind”. Patient and kind enough to allow us time to come to that place of realizing our need for Him and what changes we need to make in our lives to be pleasing to our Father. Romans 2:4 says….”Gods kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept Gods will).  Imagine that! It is Not man pushing us towards mans view of repentence, but it is the allowing of gentle conviction by the Holy Spirit to draw people into that place of awareness. Jesus told us to preach the “Good News”! The Holy Spirit will do the rest and that’s really good news!

“God’s love is never envious nor boils over with jealousy”. Many times it’s envy and jealousy that is the root cause of division, strife, confusion and competition within the church setting. Jesus said come to Him and He would give us rest. That’s the place people are seeking…..a place of rest and freedom from bad attitudes and having to compete and strive.  We can rest safely in the knowledge that God has a plan and it’s the best plan for our life…….we need not be jealous or envious of anyone.

“God’s love is not boastful, vain or haughty”.  And yet, too many times people encounter behaviors by those who are unwelcoming to anyone who doesn’t look, act, dress or believe “like I/we do”.  If Jesus’ invitation is to “whosoever will….” then the church should readily and lovingly welcome “whosoever will” walk through the doors. One of the most beautiful things about God is the diversity in His creation. The flowers, animals, trees, and everything else is personalized and unique. And so are we! None of us are created the same. It’s our differences that can create strength. So let us not think more highly of ourselves, but be accepting and gracious to everyone, celebrating the person they are now, and letting God mold them into the person He foreknew and always intended them to become.

“God’s love does not insist on its own way and is not self-seeking. Nor is it touchy, fretful or resentful”.  Wow!  This type of behavior is reminiscent of two-year olds I’ve worked with…..selfish and touchy! But we are called to be mature sons and daughters of God, walking out His character, demonstrating a Spirit led personality and emotional discipline. It’s ok to put others needs before our own! In doing so, we are planting seeds of generosity and good works that bring back a two fold harvest --- 1, we are leading by good example, and 2, the other person is blessed in a tangible way.

God’s love “pays no attention to a suffered wrong.”  How many have left the church because of an offense?  Or maybe, we ourselves have left a church because we were offended.  This spirit of offense is all too prevalent!  And yet, pure love pays no attention to offense. Our words should draw not repel. We are to rise above offense and focus on what really matters, which is loving God and loving each other. Covenant relationships transcend any and all offenses.

God’s love “does not rejoice at injustice but rejoices when right and truth prevail”.  Simply put, we as Christians must stand for what is true and what is right. Probably one of the most grave injustices we can perform is to deny others the pure, unadulterated, unconditional, ever reaching and ever expanding love that God has given to us.  Love is always right. And if we love Gods way, it will be a true love,

God’s love “bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person”. It is human nature that we want to be accepted on our own merits have everyone believe the best about us. We don’t want to be judged, pointed out, put out, talked about, rejected, shamed or scorned. When people come to church, not really knowing what or who they are seeking, but have some sense that God is a factor, we need to respect that and no matter what it “looks like”, give them the benefit of the doubt and believe the best about them. We were there once and in some ways we are still working it out in some areas. God never judges us, He leads us into the divine plans He has for us and plants us in families, ie communities, where our doubts can be assuaged, our fears let go of, relationships are built and our sense of peace and is love restored. God surely is doing a new thing within the church if we could only take off the blinders of religiosity and see it!  Let’s let Him do it and be the arms of love for all those who He brings.

And lastly, God’s love “never fails, never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end”.  God’s love never is outdated, old fashioned, dull or not needed.  Every living thing requires love.  Even animals live in communities and many times fail to thrive when separated. Where there is genuine love there is life, wholeness, thriving, reproduction and true koinonia. This is what people are looking for.

So……let us ponder how we can be the instruments to demonstrate “God” within the church community.  Jesus created the Church. WE are the Church. The very God who created community IS love. It is our mandate to show the world that true Community exists with God at the center. True community is a demonstration of God in the earth. 

“And so faith, hope love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love”.

 

(1) . http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/22/church-without-god-by-design/

(2) http://www.pewforum.org/growth-of-the-nonreligious-many-say-trend-is-bad-for-american-society.aspx

(3) https://www.barna.org/barna-update/congregations/454-study-describes-christian-accountability-provided-by-churches

Bible verses from Amplified version.

Dr. Kluane is a Commissioned Ambassadorial Apostle by Apostle John P. Kelly. She is an international apostolic minister, author, mentor, teacher, and friend to the Body of Christ. She has a mandate to release:

1 - The "Revealing of Christ in a People. 2 - Present Truth. 3 - Life-changing Third Day reformational concepts. 4 - The fullness of the finished work of redemption to the nations

Read more...

Dr. Kluane Spake


P.O. Box 941933
Atlanta, GA 31141

218-248-7247 [ phone]

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.