The haunting images of the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris dominated the headlines this week. This church had stood the test of time, as construction started in 1163 and took over 100 years to build. But in a matter of minutes, the blaze took down a historic spire and engulfed much of the facade, stained glass windows and roof.
We’ve got our own destructive fires in churches closer to home. Fires of indifference and apathy.
Results from a Gallup Poll released last Thursday show that adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has dropped by 20% over the past two decades. Church membership is at an all-time national low, dropping to 50% (church membership was at 70% in 1999).
We are encouraged to gather together.
Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25
Indifference and apathy grow in spaces that are void of genuine relationships. Churches can thrive when we create a loving, warm environment. That can’t be done by our ministers, counselors, elders and deacons alone. The membership has to help.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:11
Talk with the church leaders about lapsed members. Volunteer to write letters or call these folks. Ask and listen about their needs.
Create opportunities to serve with others: Visit the sick or the elderly. Get a small group together to serve at the homeless shelter.
Fellowship is a contact sport. Assembling for worship. Praying together. Singing together. Studying God’s word together. Attending to each other’s needs.
And if you find yourself in a spiritual funk- pray about it. And then tell someone about it. Your brothers and sisters in Christ want to help you…they just need to know how.
My prayer this week is to be more aware of ways to encourage old friends and engage new ones in their spiritual walk. And in doing so, I know that I will be uplifted as well.
And please let me know how I may pray for you.