So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV
Dysfunction in the body. Whether it be our physical body or the body of Christ, when every part isn’t functioning as it should there is dysfunction. The human body and the church are made up of a system of systems. When the individual systems within the system begin to fail, total system failure will occur.
When it comes to our physical bodies we must be cognizant of what’s happening to our bodies. When we ignore symptoms, our bodies become sicker and sicker. So it is within the body of Christ. We must be cognizant of what is happening within the body of Christ, we must be awake and sober minded and be aware of the symptoms of dysfunction before they cause irreparable damage.
Just like the brain is charged with health of the physical body, the leadership of the body of Christ is charged with its health. The leadership of every congregation must be aware of what is happening within the body. One serious issue within the body today is that fact that it is losing members. Think of that in the context of our bodies. If we started losing parts of our bodies we would try desperately to repair whatever disease or affliction that was causing theses parts to fall off or fail. When disease and affliction strike we seek a diagnosis and cure as quick as possible. We want to know what can be done to prevent further damage or possibly death.
When young people leave the church there is a reason. The problem must be diagnosed before irreparable damage is done to the individual member and the body. There is a reason for the exodus of young people from the church. We can sit back and say that it is the influences of the world that they are chasing after and leave it that, or we can take a closer look at the situation and act on it rather than reacting after the loss is already felt.
In 1st Corinthians 9:22b Paul said “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” We tend to look at this statement simply as Paul doing this as an evangelism tool. I think perhaps it’s time apply this philosophy within the church as well.
Paul strove to be all things to all people so he could understand where they were coming from and find common ground to begin a conversation that would lead to their salvation. We must strive to do the same for those in our number that are feeling that they can’t relate to us and we can’t relate to them. Relationships only grow and flourish when the parties involved in the relationship work to understand and meet the needs of the other. This is at the core of the Jesus teachings and the teachings of his Apostles.
So let’s wake up to the problem and address it. Let’s begin with listening to what the young people of the church are saying. When we listen we will learn what it is that is affecting them in such a way that they want to leave. Let’s become all things to all people, that by all means we might save some.”
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman