By Arnie Cole
Nobody likes to be called a quitter much less be part of something that is failing. Yet, the odds are you’re thinking about joining the latest trend – quitting church. In fact, some of
you already have, because you’ve told me as much in your response to my Sunday emails:
“It’s not like we are becoming an atheist, and we certainly don’t mean to cause any problems.”
“We are just walking away from the institutional church.”
“After all, you know the church is hopelessly broken and really we aren’t even missed.”
Most add that they aren’t abandoning their faith. They assure me, “It’s different than that.” How?
As I consider and pray about these comments, I wonder – what is their logic? “Do they think that “United we stand, but divided we are somehow stronger???”
That doesn’t make any sense! And yet, I’ll admit as I’ve gotten older the temptation to quit gets stronger. I mean, fighting the good fight seems harder than ever when your news feed
is filled with headlines about every ungodly thing you can think of. And it’s not just the news. Ministry leaders I talk to, along with the research we do, all point to the increasing
prevalence of evil in our society – the heights of which we couldn’t have imagined even 10 years ago!
Sadly, Satan is doing a great job of making us think it’s hopeless to do anything about this, so why bother? Just check out and put your blinders on. It’s not a sin to be a quitter. Or is it?
When you or I quit the church, we’re leaving a gap in the front lines. How do you think we got to the point where our society is abandoning its most basic morals? Why such a quick
change in cultural values?
Os Guinness, a well-known author and Christian commentator, describes de-churching and its impact as our “cut-flower civilization.” We desperately want Christ to be honored and His teaching to be upheld around us by society, while we are deliberately cutting the church’s lifeblood—each of us. We want to keep the beauty and benefits of the flower but are
surprised when it fades. Each of us is needed as we are the church’s soil, nutrients, and water.
So why do people leave? Some tell me they’ve been hurt by someone behaving poorly within the church and hurting them. For others, it was people who backed a certain political view or made jokes about those who didn’t think like them. It even went as far as being told you have to vote a certain way in order to be an outstanding Christian.
I think it is safe to say we’ve all experienced someone, or several people, who claim the name of Jesus yet behave in such a way that only Satan could admire. So, I totally get the frustration of it all. However, you and I can make a difference.
Instead of standing passively by, we can be intentional! Here’s where we start. Look less at the people in the church and focus more on the real reason for being there. In Psalm 118:8 we are told that, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
We go to church to worship Jesus Christ, not man. In Christ there is peace, not division. He has all the answers to our problems, not man. Being in fellowship together is the only way the principle of “iron sharpens iron” can work!
Here’s another important thing to consider. Jesus has placed us right here, right now, in 2023. He prepared each of us for this time and place to know and serve Him. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus promises, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Compare how the
Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it, “Come follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish.” To become fishers of people, we can’t be as effective as He wants by ourselves. We need the boat, the nets, and the crew to help. Outside of the community
that church provides, we lose all of those advantages! There is no way a loner can be as effective as a group working on the same task together.
PS: Be sure to check out all of the great Bible teaching content at www.backtothebible.org or, from your mobile device, click this link GOtandem from the App Store or Google Play and download our Daily Spiritual Fitness App.