As I write this blog about shunning others, I feel a great sense of frustration. I have been witnessing to an employee of mine for nearly a year. I have grown close to him over the past year and now consider him a friend. The last time he was in Church about two decades ago. He recently got out of prison and is trying to get his life back on track.
He knows that I am a strong Christian because we talk about my faith all of the time. I have invited him to Church many times in the past. I finally helped him get to the point were he was open to going to Church. I told him he could go to my Church, or I would even go to a Church that he wanted to go. He kept pushing it off and declining.
His girlfriend finally talked him into going to her Church that she had attended for years. He told me that he felt uncomfortable going through the doors. He felt even more uncomfortable walking through a crowd of strangers sipping their coffee and lattes. Once he entered the sanctuary, he was blown away by the performance center with a million dollar sound system (his words, not mine).
Finally nestled in this seat, the sermon began. Instead of hearing the message of salvation that I had been sharing with him for the past year, he felt alone and rejected. The message I had been lifting him up with for the past year never happened. What should have been an engaging spiritual message turned into a dysfunctional leaderless fest of desperation?
My friend felt like the Church was shunning him. He used every ounce of courage to walk through doors only to be rejected. The message that he took away from that day was that only young people matter to the Church. Since he is nearly fifty, the message of young attendees over older attendees did not resonate with him. He felt like the Church valued the next generation over his generation.
Is your Church shunning you?
You have heard the saying “don't throw out the baby with the bath water.” This is just what this Church did. To reach a younger audience, they lost entire family. My friend was courting the Church. He was seeing if he wanted to return again with his three young kids. When the Church changed the focus of the Church from salvation to the next generation, they lost the next generation. I would even argue a case for losing multiple generations for years to come.
I am not suggesting that this Church intentionally set out shunning others. I am however saying when you place your focus on things other than Christ, things like this happen. With Christ, you win 100% of the time no matter what audience you are preaching to. Without Christ, you let Satan run a muck in the Church.
There is always a ripple effect. When my friend came into work today, he shared his experience with his co-workers. These are also people I am helping with their spiritual journey. He told them what happened and you could see the other employees faces sour at the thought of Church.
I felt saddened with what I witnessed in the office the other day. I will continue to share the gospel with him as well as others that I come into contact with. There will be continued daily prayer for God to reach these individuals. My fight for their salvation is not over.
It is hard to understand that why Christians work against each other all of the time. We are on the same team, and we worship the same God. The conclusion I came to was that some Christians either intentionally or unintentionally value things and comforts over God.
What does a spiritual journey look like?
Picture our spiritual journey as a race. There are a start and finish line. We begin our spiritual journey when we hear about Jesus. The area between the start and finish is our walk searching for the Lord. The finish is when we finally realize who Jesus is and we begin to have a relationship with him. Instead of starting people out at the beginning, some Churches drop people in the middle. They toss in obstacles that are not God focused desires to cloud the middle. By not introducing people to Jesus first, the Church never ignites a fire in these lost souls.
The Church is a body of believers in Christ. Acts 1:8 tells us “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Are we witnessing to others inside and outside of Church? Are we following Jesus's call to tell everyone the good news?
My challenge to you.
I challenge you to read 2 Peter 2. I want you to dig into these verses to see what the scriptures say about a false prophet.