This sounds like a very large question. Far too much for a short article like this one would say. On the other hand, one might say the message of the Gospel is, and has always been, very simple.
Love God with all your heart and soul, love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus fleshes it out at the end of Matthew 25 in the “Great Judgment”.
You know the words… I was hungry, you fed me … I was thirsty, you gave me drink … I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and so on.
You get the idea, these are NOT impossible expectations! These are “being a decent human being” things that anyone can do. These are also the things in which the church needs to take the leading role, now and in the future!
What do you think?
We all live in an age of mass media, advertising, digitally enhanced everything. We are called upon to work more hours, produce more, eat more, buy more and most of all to participate virtually NON-STOP in what the world has to offer. There is no escape from the din that surrounds every possible way to make a buck. So what is the Christian to do? We are warned to keep our distance, to observe Sabbath rest, to participate IN but not be OF the world. Jesus spent much time telling us what the “Kingdom” is like because that is where we are to put our time and true effort. Unfortunately Kingdom work is not as fun and attractive to most people as the world seems to be. As a pastor I struggle with honoring people’s commitment to their families and work and at the same time watching the church struggle to get any meaningful ministry done with folks that are too busy with worldly things to even think about Kingdom things.
Setting priorities in our lives is the only way I know of to resolve this issue. This is a huge gamble on my part as a pastor because I cannot set your priorities or even suggest what they might be. It may very well happen that Kingdom work through the church is nowhere near the top of the list for most people. The church may have to muddle along being supported in the “if I have time” mode. Again, I know I am risking much here by possibly making people feel guilty about their choices. Unfortunately ALL Christian churches in this country (even megachurches) are experiencing declining in numbers. In Washington state church attenders are down under 20% and the number of “active” members is much lower. I apologize to all, but I don’t have time to worry about offending people. The Christian church has a great message of love and grace to share with the world. Our church here at All Saints is doing a good job of reflecting that love and grace and we need to do a better job of telling the community what we’re doing. There is no longer the luxury of time, people in our midst are hurting and in need of what we can share now. There is no better time or place to do the Kingdom work that we are called to. For us and for those we serve the time is now!