Do Lost People Go To Church?

Yep, they sure do. At least they are in our church every week. How about yours? I bet there are children, teens and even adults in your church who have yet to begin a personal relationship with Jesus. And, I’m not even talking about the visitors that may attend your worship services from time to time.

So, when I heard someone speak about how the church needs to become more outward focused rather than inward focused I was a bit confused. Now, I do understand the concept and the caution given. As believers, and as churches, we can never assume that those who are spiritually hungry will just show up inside our churches on a given Sunday as simply as those who have physical needs rush to the doctor’s office. And, we must always be taking the Gospel into our community.

Where did the confusion come from?

In hearing this proclamation, my first thought was “Why do you think our churches are inward focused?” and “Why do you say that those older than 30-something aren’t outward focused?” Do you really think being the hands and feet of Christ in our communities is a new concept?” In hopes that my blood pressure wouldn’t cloud my judgment or cause me to blurt out my disbelief, I tried to listen a bit more to their perspective. The more I listened, the more I wondered if this cry for outreach was just the newest generational tag that had risen to the surface. Those who are now passionate about the outward-focused church are simply emphasizing the importance of reaching out with Christ's love in their local community. Now, that’s a good thing, but...

Isn’t that what the church, the Body of Christ, has always been called to do? To share the Good News of Jesus Christ wherever we go.

So, yes, we as Christians must be outward focused. Our churches must be outward focused. We must always test our ministry and make sure we are not only discipling and equipping the saved, but also sharing the Gospel at home, at work, in our schools and in our neighborhoods. We are the light of Christ, and that light needs to burn brightly from all angles – and that means even in church!

Why?

Because lost people go to church – sometimes for years and years. Now, that behavior pattern might not be as true for the younger generation, but I’ve known several individuals who attended church for decades. They were faithful, attentive, pleasant and genuinely nice people. However, two of these individuals didn’t accept Christ as their Savior until they were in their 80’s. Amazing!

How can that be? How can someone sit through dozens and dozens of worship services, that consistently spell out the Gospel message, without making a choice for Christ? How can they participate, or at least hear worship songs being sung and prayers being prayed without being moved to personally seek God? How can they witness loved ones being baptized or giving testimony of God’s miraculous healing in their lives and yet not take the next step in their faith? How does God touch the heart of the complacent, the confused or those who genuinely fear commitment? I don't claim to know the ways of God, but I do know that God must draw them in His time and in His way. (John 6:44, 65)

So, my question for you today is this. Do you recognize that there are likely those in your church who are not saved? …and do you pray for them, that God would draw them to Him and that they would respond in faith and with a humble heart?

Paul shares his passionate desire to see the ‘churched’ Israelites saved through Christ in Romans 10:1-4. This powerful heart cry can be easily modified to fit our modern day circumstances and is a good reminder to keep our outward focus for this generation and instill it in the hearts of the generations to come. “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for…[those in my church]… is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own [moral code] they did not submit to God’s righteousness. [But, we must share with them that] Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”  

Ministry trends may come and go, but the message always stays the same. Jesus Christ - crucified, alive and coming back again. Let’s keep faithfully sharing that Good News within and without our church walls for God’s honor and glory!


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