Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 23, 2018

Thought for the Week July 29, 2018

Chris Sonksen is the lead pastor of South Hills Church and the founder of ChurchBOOM, an organization that provides personal coaching to more than 200 churches and impacts thousands of leaders. His latest book is Quit Church.- bEcause your life would be better if you did. He recently wrote an op-ed that was adapted from the book. The title intrigued me because I couldn’t conceive of a pastor advising anyone to quit church. After reading it, though, I felt like this was something every Christian should consider very seriously. So here is Pastor Sonksen’s article:

“At a time when church attendance is shrinking in America, I, a pastor, am encouraging people to quit church. Why? The answer is birthed out of conversations and research I’ve been a part of over the last several years.

“Regularly, I meet and train pastors and church leaders from all over the country through my leadership platform, ChurchBOOM. The conversations carry a common theme – a lot of people who attend church are passive towards serving, giving and community outreach. In most churches, 80 percent of the work is being carried out by 20 percent or less of the people. We’ve become a church of spectators and the pastoral staff is getting burned out.

“According to my own personal research, the problems are even bigger than the 80/20 principle. Only 39 percent of active believers consider the Bible as the literal word of God. Less than 20 percent of professing believers follow the biblical principle of giving. Only 5 percent have shared their faith with a non-believer. More than half of all church members attend church once a month or less. Something has to change.

“Casual attendance and the belief that others will serve, give and share the Gospel are tearing down churches across our country brick by brick. As believers, it’s time that we are either all in or we get out.

“The solution is simple: quit! That’s right – quit! If we quit the casual way we approach God’s principles can you imagine what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our community of believers? What if every believer exercised generosity? What if every Christian fought for loyalty in the local church? What if everyone served in their God-given purpose? What would happen if we stopped simply believing and started belonging?

“If we would only quit the way we approach our relationship to Christ and our local church, the blessing, the reward, the joy, the fulfillment, the purpose, and the increase would radically transform our lives and the world. Together, we can revolutionize the church! But the only way we can do this is if we quit.

“My conversations over the past several years revealed the spiritual habits necessary for personal and church growth and revealed the ‘why’ behind disengagement in the church. The truth is, if we don’t feel passionate about something we don’t do it. If we don’t like something that happens in the church, we find another one. If the spiritual practices don’t fit our lifestyle, then we don’t do them.

“This mindset permeates our ‘I want it now and I want it my way’ culture and is only enforced through social media, website choices, TV options and countless other platforms that have risen in prominence in our lives. This is not the way God intended the church to live.

“The local church isn’t a building – it’s a body of believers fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives. When these believers approach their individual involvement and commitment in a casual manner it weakens the entire body of Christ and the impact we are called to have. As a result, we lose, and so does the local church. God wants us to win, to thrive, to fulfill our potential in him. We will not experience the abundance He desires for us until we quit our current approach and we are all-in.

“Once you go all-in on generosity, serving, outreach, discipleship and the other biblical behaviors laid out in His word then look out, because God will rain on your life with His blessings like you have never experienced. Jesus felt the church was worth dying for – it should be our mission as Christians to value living for it.”

Now my guess, based on knowing most of the good people in our church, is that we make it far beyond the 20% doing 80% of the work. There are far more than that involved in the work of Christian Chapel and I commend all of you for it. That being said, there is a lot more that could be accomplished if we all got involved, especially in areas of outreach, teaching (all ages), and leading or hosting small groups (Life Groups).

I would also guess that we have a higher percentage of Bible believers and I know we have a group of extravagantly generous people. But what if everyone were that way? How much more could God do through us if we all were all in? I am so grateful to be associated with so many people who are all in and with many others who are moving towards that goal. How might we encourage those around us to catch the vision of Making Jesus Known and begin to give their all? Just a thought to ponder.

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