Apathy

December 11, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

This has been on my mind a lot lately if you can’t tell.  How do we deal with apathy in the church?  Whether it is about missions, whether it is about someone’s personal relationship with God, whether it is about church attendance, whether it is about service, whether it is about giving…to me, it seems like it is church-wide!

Casting Crowns has a song that mentions all the pretty plastic people under the steeple (sorry Mark Hall, I think I butchered that lyric) and it seems to me that is pretty accurate today.  How many people in the church actually care about the things of God?  Why is it that the Word of God, which is sharper than any two-edged sword, doesn’t do anything to the people of God anymore?  I’ll tell you one thing, the Word of God has not lost its power.  The people have lost their interest!

Last night in youth group, as well as Sunday night at church when I speak (at least that’s Sunday night’s plan right now), we dealt with Romans 10:2.  Paul, speaking of the Jews, talks about how zealous they are for God, but “they have not according to knowledge.”  Is that an accurate picture of today’s church?  I believe it is.  People want to please God.  They want to do things according to God’s will – as long as it’s done on their terms.  I believe the church is legalistic on two sides.  One side, you have people claiming that you must do this checklist to receive eternal life, when we know it’s only faith in Jesus Christ that gives us that.  On the other side, we have people making the calling of God too easy on our lives.  God wants total and complete surrender of our lives to Him, yet it seems to me that so many people are saying, “You don’t have to be that committed to church!” or “You don’t have to read your Bible every day!”  Is it not the power of God that changes lives?  We create our own rules and regulations about how God wants us to live our lives to the point where we either care too much that we ruin God’s message, or we care too little that we don’t surrender anything…

It’s just a frustrating time in the church to me.  Pastor said one time, “The hardest thing as a pastor to do is to try to make the people of the church love God’s commands.”  Why is that hard?  The pastor can try and try and try to teach God’s commands, hoping that someone will take it to heart and let it change their lives.  But, the thing is, as a teacher, preacher, pastor, youth pastor, whatever you are….you pour yourself into the lessons, the teaching, the lives of these individuals.  You never stop.  You can’t walk them across the goal line of heaven.  It’s up to them to make the decision.  We can only influence to the best of our ability, right?

Apathy is the most frustrating part of the job, in my opinion.  To see faces that just look blank and unaffected as they leave church…that’s sad.  To see people who appear bored.  To see people who would rather be somewhere else.  To see people who don’t like the church the way it is, because it’s not convenient and comfortable enough for them…

I don’t know, maybe I’m just a whiner today, but maybe I’m on to something.

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  1. December 11, 2008 at 11:54 am

    John Maxwell once said at a workshop I attended, “Don’t try to fire up people. Be fired up yourself, and they’ll catch the fire from you.” Of course, that takes time…lots of time. I have been at my church for five years, and occasionally just begin to see some of the sparks and embers set another person ablaze.

    Another thing I often find is the interesting exploration of the apathy. I want people to be all fired up in church on Sunday. However, when I get people aside, and they begin to share what is going on in their life…that 60 minutes in a pew is the least of their concern…and maybe should be.

    Sometimes if I am honest, the truth is that I am not worried about them being fired up about God…I’m worried about them being excited and thrilled about what we are doing in the church or what I am promoting. There is a huge difference!

    Of course, as with all things, the bottom line is a heart issue. And we can’t change people’s hearts…only God can. So I check my own heart a lot, prayer for God’s heart changing power in other’s lives, and focus on making sure I am flying as close to the flame as possible. Result focus burns me out. Obedience focus keeps me fulfilled in ministry. Again, there is a huge difference between the two.

  2. December 11, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Great Comment ChipMonck!

  1. February 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm

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