One of the biggest struggles I hear from pastors relates to the apathy seen in so many people in their churches. It’s a reality in far too many: too many professing believers showing up, doing the minimum, hardly checked in at all.
I’ve not done an empirical study on this, but I’ve preached in over 2,000 churches and tried to pay attention at each one. In every church I’ve also observed this: there are plenty of people who really love Jesus, who want to serve Him, and who want to live lives surrendered to Jesus. A lot of these folks actually appear apathetic because they aren’t sure just how to do this beyond what’s been modeled–show up regularly, give some money, serve in some way, don’t rock the boat, and be moral. All these matter, but they miss the over-arching perspective of living for Jesus with a passion in every aspect of our lives, from our spiritual life to our relational, emotional, physical, vocational, educational, leisure, and financial dimensions as well.
When we show believers how Jesus impacts all spheres of life and how following Jesus is a daily, not a weekly thing, I’ve found many believers hungry to know more about that kind of Christianity. This is true whether talking to leaders and simply reminding them of these things, or introducing this to believers of all backgrounds and places of spiritual growth.
This week is a case in point. Monday and Tuesday I spoke to leaders, people who have walked with Jesus and led others to do so for decades in many cases. I spoke to them about character, godliness, and especially about sharing their faith (they all got a copy of my new book, after all!). Here’s the reality: people who have served Jesus for a long time still yearn to know more, to grow more, to have their passions stirred for God.
Last night I spoke to a big crowd of folks at my church, Richland Creek, from the Sharing Jesus book. Again, there was so much hunger, so much passion to know Jesus more and serve Him. I talked to folks for a while after about specific opportunities, from a mom with a special needs child who asked how to talk with the healthcare folks who come into their home, to a new guest who loves Jesus and was so excited to find a church near her who makes her want to love Him more.
If you are a pastor, love everyone, but move with the movers. Don’t be sidetracked by the apathetic, but feed the hungry. And remember some who are on surface apathetic aren’t really, they just don’t know how to run the race with joy. That’s our job, to teach, to model, and to create ways to show what it looks like in everyday life to walk with Jesus.
God reminded Elijah at a lonely time there were 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. There yet remain believers in your church who want to live for and share Jesus. Pour into them, and you just might see God raise others from the dead!