We are looking at the Church as it is today and seeing how it relates to the seven passions of those who are looking for much more than they see and experience in the local church today – the revolutionaries.
We saw that the revolutionaries have a number of passions – elements of spiritual life that they are desiring and looking for in the local church …
1> Intimate worship
2> Faith-based conversations
3> Intentional spiritual growth
4> A place to serve (servanthood)
5> Resource investment
6> Spiritual friendships
7> Family faith
Last time we looked at the first two. Let’s move forward from there and look at several more.
3> Regarding Intentional Spiritual Growth…
Only 9 percent of all born again adults have a biblical worldview – meaning that less than one out of every ten Christians eighteen or older believes that absolute moral truth exists, believes that such truth is contained in the Bible, and possesses a handful of core beliefs that reflect such truth.
Those beliefs include a certainty that the Bible is accurate in its teachings; Jesus lived a sinless life on this earth; Satan is real, not symbolic; all believers are responsible for sharing their faith in Christ with others; the only means to salvation is through God’s grace as revealed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; and God is the all-knowing and all-powerful creator of the universe who still rules it today.
The other 91% of born again adults possess a patchwork of theological views and rarely rely upon those perspectives to inform their daily decisions.
Although the typical believer contends that the Bible is accurate in what it teaches, he or she spends less time reading the Bible in a year than watching television, listening to music, reading other books and publications, or conversing about personal hobbies and leisure interests.
When asked what constitutes success in life, few believers define success in spiritual terms. Most describe outcomes related to professional achievements, family solidarity, physical accomplishments, or resource acquisitions.
When given the opportunity to state how they want to be known by others, fewer than one out of ten believers mentioned descriptions that reflect their relationship with God.
A reminder from a previous blog of what revolutionaries are looking for in this regard and what the early church in the book of Acts exhibited regarding spiritual growth:
The Church in Jerusalem endeavoured to learn more about the Christian faith and employ the principles of Jesus’ teachings. Believers exhibited a remarkable attitude toward life and people and acknowledged the presence of the supernatural in their everyday adventures. They placed their faith at the center of their lives and derived their sense of meaning, purpose, and direction from their connection to God and His commands.
It is obvious that born again believers today are falling short of the biblical model when it comes to intentional spiritual growth. And, that the revolutionaries, in many cases, are not finding what they are looking for in the church as we currently see it working today.
4> Regarding Resource Investment…
Churched Christians give away an average of about 3 percent of their income in a typical year – and feel pleased with their “sacrificial” generosity. Fewer than one out of every ten churched Christians donate at least 10 percent of their income to churches and other nonprofit organizations. More than one-third claim to do so and thus are either self-deceived or lying.
When asked to explain their understanding of biblical stewardship, less than one out of every twenty includes resources such as time, relationships, ideas, or skills in their assessment. And, most believers are unable to identify anything specific they have ever donated money to that they would describe as producing life-changing outcomes.
Again, a reminder of the early church’s understanding of resource investment which is also what revolutionaries are looking for in the church today…
Because we own nothing in this life, it is best to wisely invest the resources we manage for the One who is the true owner of all things. The first Christians defined communal living through their sacrificial sharing of everything they had. Note that the Scriptures specifically tell us that they shared “everything” with those in need, and that they used the variety of resources at their disposal – money, food, clothing, housing, relationships, influence, skills, time – for the benefit of all believers.
More next time…