Interestingly enough faith is at an all-time high across the board. Studies have shown that more and more, people believe in God and they're relying on their faith to get them through trying times or even just life in general. Yet and still, there's a decline in church attendance. The church is losing its credibility among believers and non-believers alike. Christianity is being frowned upon. Churches are being neglected. Leaders are turning against leaders. There's chaos and discord behind the pulpit. Worship leaders aren't being properly tended to. There are more instances of pulpit shaming and congregants going live to show others what's going on in the Lord's house. What's happening?
I'm saddened to even be writing this right now, but I know it's necessary as I look at things going on in churches and the lives of Christians today. I see the posts on social media and I hear the frustrations from my fellow brothers and sisters. Christ followers are grieved at the injustices taking place and the mockery we're up against. Aside from churches in crises, marriages are in turmoil. Continuously, we see Christians foregoing marriage but still desiring to have a family and being OK with shacking up. The numbers are high for those that encourage this, even those that are members of the body of Christ. Many have a complaint. Several have an opinion. Everyone has a job to do. Yet no one has a solution. I imagine Christ weeping at the disorder taking place with His bride. And I see Satan smiling from ear to ear. There are 2 key things that matter greatly to God that Satan is against: churches and marriage. The very things that God delights to see thriving and done in order are the areas that the enemy is out to wreak havoc, fulfilling the warning we receive about him being out to steal, kill, and destroy.
In the body of Christ, what's going on with Christians telling others to engage in the very things the Bible is against? For the sake of not hurting others, we give instructions that are the opposite of God's desire. There's talk of "church not being required" and "premarital sex isn't that big of a deal." There's gossip about the leadership and frustration from the congregation. What's happening?
What is God thinking as He sits and watches this? We're waiting on a move from God unaware that God is waiting on us to move. Sadly there are a variety of things that are out of order right now, however. And until we straighten things out, we can't expect to see much of a change. So exactly what needs to happen? Where do we start? How do we fix this? How can we get the negative light off of the church and Christianity today?
"We're waiting on a move from God unaware that God is waiting on us to move."
Let's start with the leaders. Truth be told, it all points back to them. Is it fair to say spiritual immaturity plays a big role in this? Not only spiritual immaturity, but what about positional immaturity? What I mean is that many have immaturely taken position as a leader, and it just wasn't quite their time. God has called us all to do something. Every last one of us has a call on our lives. It is my own belief that many have answered the call but they got off the phone too quickly before getting all the details of the job description and start date. Even David was anointed before being fully positioned as king. After being brought in from the field and anointed by Samuel, he was sent back into the field because his time had not yet come. Imagine if he was to become king at the exact moment he was called... He wasn't ready. And that's where we are with many of the leaders today. They took the position as soon as they got the call. Let's also examine the fact that some are in positions that they were never appointed to. I'm noticing a trend that it doesn't take much to put a title before your own name. There are self-proclaimed prophets, pastors, teachers, etc. But the question is who called them? Who qualified them? Who's mentoring them and leading them? Who's covering them and guiding them? Do I believe that you have to go to school and obtain the proper qualifications with a certificate, diploma, or degree in hand to do certain things? Not necessarily. But do I believe that you can call yourself one of these things because you simply want to do it? Absolutely not.
I believe that God can, has, and will call whomever He chooses. I believe that if He calls you, that's enough qualification in and of itself. I believe that His anointing is what matters the most. But let's admit that everyone has not been called to fulfill the role they're currently in. And congregants and Christians frequently get their entire spiritual nourishment from their leaders. The extent of their walk with Christ is what the pastor feeds them on Sunday morning (or what they obtain from catching an occasional sermon on YouTube). This is problematic. When this happens, we have a prime example of the blind leading the blind. Leaders are unaware that there's a problem with what they're doing. Some are doing it for selfish gain, with impure motives, misused scriptures, a lack of knowledge, and no one over them. And James 3 is clear about teachers being judged more strictly.
When leaders are out of order, we're naive to think this doesn't spill into the church atmosphere. And these well-meaning churchgoers are highly likely to take the bread they've been served and share it with the multitudes in the form of their household, families, friends, etc. God forbid they're not taught to study to show themselves approved. This means they're left not doing anything else for their souls until they sit in their chosen pew again the following Sunday. What is happening?
What can we do to put an end to this spiritual madness? How can we end the mockery we're enduring? How can we stop churches from being shamelessly "exposed" at the hands of members gone mad? How can we stop persons from opening and starting churches for the sake of competition and not calling? What about pastors and even worship leaders that make it about performance and not praise? How can we restore faith in the local churches and Christianity in general?
2 Chronicles 7:14. We recite it when there's a national tragedy or political upheaval. It makes for a great social media post against an American flag or kneeling person. It's even better when it's placed against a person crying with their hands thrown up in the air. The NIV translation states "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." It's a wonderful verse and it seems fitting for all that's going on. There's only one problem. It's used out of context a bit. But I will say this: let's stop adding the scriptural reference so it's not used improperly. However, we can keep the gist of our own interpretation. What if God's people who are called decided to humble themselves, pray, repent, and then seek Him? I have a feeling we'd see restoration in our land. I feel as if prayer is the missing key. There's more recording and gossiping than there is praying. There's more false teaching than there is praying. There's more prosperity preaching and prophesying than there is praying. There's more complaining than there is praying. There are more hands tossed up in frustration and finger pointing than there are hands clamped together. There are more empty pews than there are pews with intercessors.
There's a solution for this problem with churches, Christianity, families, marriages, ministries, etc. And it's prayer. Leaders must pray. Congregants must pray. Spouses must pray. Children must pray. Evangelists must pray. Prophets must pray. Teachers must pray. Pastors must pray. Believers must pray! This isn't a thing that some or most Christians should do or get to do. It's something we're expected to do. It's something we're instructed to do.
1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing"
1 John 5:15, "And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him."
Ephesians 6:18, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
Jeremiah 29:12, "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."
James 5:13, "Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise."
Proverbs 15:8, "The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him."
I could keep going on, but I think you get it. The issue today is not enough prayer. But there's a solution: pray more!