Thursday, January 22, 2009

Honeysett: Why Do People Not Fully Commit to Local Church life?

Marcus writes:
During the week I had an alarming number of questions that went like this: "there is lots of joy in God in Philippians and none in my life. Does that mean something is wrong?" Yes it does! In each case I tried to find out what it was. I asked everyone who commented the following questions and received the corresponding answers. I want to start with four foundational questions:

* Do people know God?
# What kind of church do you attend?
# Why do you read the Bible?
# Do you ever take time in your schedule to simply adore God and his Christ?
# How would you describe your worship life?
* Do they grasp that the gospel is all of grace?
* Do they know what the Church is?
* Are they growing as disciples or have they somehow stalled?

Read the answers and more at Digital H20


  1. This maybe relates to some stuff I've been thinking about lately. It's often the case that in asking for greater levels of commitment church leaders play the 'come on the church needs you' angle. So there are calls to be servant-hearted and other-people centred in our use of time, to commit because other people need our gifts and because being sacrificial in laying down our lives is the right response to the gospel.

    But I don't often hear commitment flagged up as a means of grace. In other words, the bible also entices us to commit to church life because church is the place where we are nurtured, grow, stay safe from falling, find ourselves, enjoy Christ, benefit from others.

    The two sides rightly belong together. It is, after all, as we lose our lives for Christ and the gospel that we gain our lives for now and eternity. Church life, (a bit) like the inner life of Trinity is about the giving and receiving of self-giving love. But that's the point, they belong together. If we're gonna push for commitment (people giving of themselves) it ought to be seen as a means of grace, a joyful blessed thing.

    I'd love it eventually for people to feel that not committing to church life is really a pretty insane thing to do. Why would I ever not want to be there among my brothers and sisters, meeting with the living God, hearing his word, using my gifts, etc. etc. ?

    Does that make sense? I think it ties in with MH's points in yr post.

  2. "I'd love it eventually for people to feel that not committing to church life is really a pretty insane thing to do."

    Yeh, my experience would testify to that - I can't imagine not being with church family.

  3. Fantastic comment from Pete. The equating of greater commitment with "come on the church needs you" automatically tells you that there is something wrong with the situation.

    Possibly that the church isn't functioning well qua biblical church, but has become confused with a set of activities and services that need manpower. Or possibly that the person in question hasn't yet come to a full biblical understanding of the place of the people of God in the life of the individual believer.

    In the first instance the commitment struggle might be because something is wrong with the church, in the second it will be because a penny hasn't dropped with the believer.

    Not wanting to be with the Christian family is not only insane, it is also rubbish for witness because the church is the primary apologetic for the gospel, the demonstration of the manifold wisdom of God to the Heavenly realms.