Average reading time is about 5 and a half minutes
I imagine everyone knows at least one person who was once walking with Jesus and was enthusiastic about being a Christian, but then he or she stopped attending church.
There are many reasons people stop going. About 2.7 million former church members reported they drifted from church activity due to their lives being too busy, while others said they no longer believed in some of the teachings of the church. But, surprisingly, the vast majority indicated that they simply didn’t like the pastor or had a conflict with another member. It happens all too often. Look at these sad statistics:
• Each year 3,500 churches in America close their doors permanently.
• 150,000 people leave churches for good every week.
• 32 percent of people surveyed after leaving church reported that no one from their congregations ever contacted them.
It’s unfortunate that anyone has felt ignored, rejected, ostracized, or injured by another church member or group of members. The church should be a loving and safe place, a sanctuary where sinners come to find hope, healing, and spiritual nurturing. But it doesn’t always work out that way. People don’t always follow the Lord’s command to love one another, and often the result is that someone leaves the church.
When Jesus said, “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6), He was speaking of these missing members who have drifted away from the church. He was letting us know that we should be especially involved in searching for them. Rather than turning our eyes away from the problem, we should “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
We should search for these people with enthusiasm, like the woman searching for her lost coin (Luke 15:8). Searching is the first step in bringing them home.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. Isaiah 58:12