Keepin’ it Real!

Bulletin CoverAccording to research in a book by Thom Rainer (www.thomrainer.com) here are the top 10 reasons young Americans quit church:

10. I was only going to church to please others.

9. I want to spend more time with my friends.

8. I disagreed with the church’s stance on political or social issues.

7. I didn’t feel connected with the people in my church.

6. I became too busy.

5. I moved too far away.

4. My work responsibilities prevented me from attending.

3. I started college and stopped church.

2. Church members seemed too judgmental or hypocritical.

1. I simply wanted a break from church.

The #1 reason people quit church is tragic – “I wanted a break from church.” Why in the world would anyone want “a break from church?”  Let me rephrase that. Why in the world would anyone want a break from a church that functioned biblically and was healthy?  Have you ever heard of the philosophical term Cause-and-Effect? I believe perhaps #1 is the effect of #2.

Yet, in the early Church, true, passionate followers of Jesus were viewed a little differently.

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus – Acts 4:13

This tells us that the onlookers, some of whom were no doubt were non-believers, could observe the lives of the early disciples and know that they had been with Jesus. In a similar way, those to whom we minister and serve—whether they be our own family, our church, or unsaved people in the community—should be able to see in our lives genuine substance of our walk with the Lord. There should be enough evidence to convict us if we’re ever accused of being a follower of Jesus!

In today’s culture, if you really want to earn the trust and the right to be heard, you need be authentic and real. How can we begin the process of becoming more REAL?

RESPECT others opinions (doesn’t mean you have to agree with them)

  • “Show respect for everyone” – 1 Peter 2:17 (NLT)

EXPRESS genuine compassion (doesn’t matter how they got in the situation they’re in)

ALLOW mistakes (And admit that you make them too)

LIVE the Scriptures (Be the same at home, school, or at work that you purport to be on Sunday mornings at church)

Jesus had some pretty intense words for the religious leaders of His day when he said, “Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28, NLT).

Not exactly “winning friends and influencing people” type stuff here, but He certainly got His message across, loud and clear. What Jesus is looking for is authentic, passionate, real followers who seek to please Him and Him alone, and who won;t place stumbling blocks before those who are wanting to come to Him!

Check it out, God uses real people, with real problems, who struggle with real-everyday-life challenges, yet who also earnestly seek to serve Him with genuine faith and authenticity.

Isn’t time we stop playing religious games and start keepin’ it real?

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