I recently wrote a post about apathy in the church today (See “Apathy”). It struck me after publishing that piece that while it was heavy on stating the problem, it was a little light on providing solutions. It’s easy to spot problems and rail against them. It’s another thing entirely to take a step back and suggest solutions. I don’t want to be a person who simply points out flaws but presents no way to correct them. I want to be like Jesus. He was all about answers. His mission was to provide a solution to the problem, not simply point out our flaws (John 3:17).
There’s no quick fix to apathy in the modern church. If there were, I’m hoping it would have been implemented by now. The solution is simple, but simple often does not translate to easy. The key to curing apathy is to repent and choose to follow Jesus regardless of the cost. The consequences of such a decision challenge everything we know about “doing church”. We have become accustomed to comfort, entertainment, and freedom. Most of the world would be appalled by equating these things with Church. From Sudanese believers who gather under a tree because the army burned down their church, to Chinese disciples who meet in dark rooms lit by a single candle over fear of being discovered, tortured, and jailed.
Maybe we would be better served to have less freedom. I feel it is our destiny because of the way we have squandered the opportunities with which we have been presented. When Israel continually turned their back on God, he eventually allowed their privileged place to be taken from them. We are naïve to think America or any of the Western world is any different. God is perfectly consistent. He will not allow us to neglect our responsibilities forever without there being consequences.
So what can we do? Fall on our faces and beg forgiveness for all we have neglected to do. We must open our eyes to the evil and injustice that surrounds us on all sides. Jesus told us to go into the entire world (Matthew 28:19), so it’s time to leave our buildings and find out what’s happening in society. I’m not talking about watching more of the news, but rather walking among those around us and getting our hands dirty. We need to build relationships with those who have been shut out of the church. We must give our money and our time to break the chains of injustice and to care for the sick, the hungry, and the helpless (Matthew 25:31-46; Isaiah 58:5-7).
But we must do this together. There are already many heroes who are doing these things on an individual basis. Instead we need to band together. We need to re-imagine the way we “do church”. Tradition is good when it reminds you of God and all He has done for you. It is evil when it focuses on anything other than following in the footsteps of Jesus and bringing His Kingdom to exist on earth. It will take bold and courageous people to go to their church leaders and say, “No more!” If we don’t turn this around, we will all be caught unaware when Christ returns. I want to be ready. We can do this together.