So, why do I say what I say? There is a reason. And, it isn’t to settle a score and get even. It isn’t to point out everyone’s shortcomings because I am fully aware that I have my own faults and, perhaps, more than others.
The reason is this: In the last couple of years I have — for some reason that I can’t quite understand — developed a perspective on the Church of Christ that I just can’t shake of. At first I said nothing about it to anybody but, especially after I started this blog, things began to happen and I seemed to see their significance to The Church. If I kept silent, and, something happened, I would regret that I didn’t speak up. Hence, I express myself.
My perspective is nothing new; many people all over the world have a similar perspective — that we are living in the last days. As I’ve said before, I have no idea just how long these “last days” are going to last. Who knows it might go on for another 10 generations or more! The point is not to count the days — that’s an exercise in futility! But to prepare ourselves for what is to come, and, more importantly, to equip ourselves so that we can pass on to the coming generations the skills required to help them live and be ready.
The issues I have highlighted and brought to the open are the areas I feel that need the most pressing and urgent attention as they would affect the future Church. New churches — in their quest to be a witness for Christ — are very successful in attracting people into their communities and establishing them in the disciplines of following Christ. Generally, young Christians make minimal demands on their leaders because they just want to be filled with the things of God. But these same Christians mature and the spiritual diet that helped them grow in the first place may no longer meet their needs. They may now make more demands on their leaders for a personal relationship because it is through the fellowship that they open up to their leaders and share things close to their heart. But, if leaders don’t want to get close, they will never know what the mature Christians know, and the latter will always “feel” left out.
It is the mature Christians who will be holding the fort in the end-times Church. Young, wishy washy Christians will fall away. The challenge is to minister to mature Christians so that they don’t lose hope and leave the church or give up the faith.
When you have been a Christian for some time, the excitement and activities of being part of a very good thing will begin to lose its attraction. The novelty wears off and in its place you see the real issues in your own life and in the lives of others. You want these issues addressed. You go to the altar but we are aware that God is not going to solve all our problems all at once! Everyone has to learn to persevere until, in His good time, things resolve or we learn to live well with it. It is during this time, that a personal ministry will be the greatest encouragement we can have. Sure, we get some of that through the fellowship of believers but when we don’t get it from leaders, we have a problem. Not only are members left struggling on their own, but leaders don’t learn anything about ministering at a personal level.
This is not a new problem. It has been in existence in churches for a long time. Smaller churches handle it better than others. Bigger churches have to realise that the local church of the future is going to be smaller and less homogeneous; they will be multi-cultural and less institutional. If leaders don’t develop the skills to be personal and interact with their members of varied backgrounds in healthy relationships, they will be unable to guide their churches through the adversities they are going to face in the future. If leaders fail to address these issues now, how will they train the next crop of leaders to handle the difficulties of their times?
That is my concern and that is the reason why I say the things I do. The Church of the future needs leaders with strong emotional skills to be personal and tough — able to confront the realities of the times and help their members to do the same.