Where is the Church?

It would be an understatement to say that 2020 was a challenging year for everyone. And, unfortunately, so far 2021 is looking to be very similar. The Church has found itself particularly hit by all the challenges as congregations must battle with establishing in-person or online services, making all their congregants comfortable, while at the same time remaining apolitical.

As I watched the news unfold in 2020, I oftentimes found myself asking, “Where is the Church?” The fact of the matter is, by watering down its theology to be more “seeker friendly” or “justice oriented,” the Church has allowed itself to become more and more culturally irrelevant. The truth of the Gospel has been lost in the competing voices of social justice messaging, climate consciousness, and correcting historical failures. Not that there isn’t a time and place for those discussions. But the Church has lost its starting point in the person of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible.

That is where I believe the importance of the lay person comes in. Unfortunately, many lay people attend church without a full grasp of what the Bible teaches or how to implement those truths in a culture determined to choke them out. That is as much a failure of church leadership as the individual.

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “‘You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.'” (NKJV).

As lay people, we are called to be the light ourselves, and not just rely on our pastors or church leadership to do it for us. In fact, the recent scandals with Carl Lentz and Ravi Zacharias have shown a serious failure in our Christian leadership. As an aside, the allegations against Ravi Zacharias have been especially devastating to me, and I highly recommend Alisa Childers’ YouTube video for anyone struggling with their implications.

That being said, where do lay people start? If social media has taught us anything, it certainly pays to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). But the silence of lay people has also opened up a huge vacuum for other voices to fill it with ungodly principles that need to be addressed, whether they are in your local church, school, or government.

It sounds cliché to say, but we first must start with the Bible. We can’t speak truth if we don’t know the truth ourselves. Speak to your pastor about being discipled or taught how to read your Bible. Buy a study Bible with commentaries. Join a true Bible-believing church. I plan to post a blog about what I, personally, believe are the most important tenets of a Bible-believing church and what to look for in a church’s mission statement and statement of faith.

After the Bible, get deep into apologetics. If you’re not familiar with that word, it is most simply understood as reasoned arguments for the infallibility of Scripture. I will post a list of some sources I recommend, but off the top of my head I would definitely look at Neil Shenvi and Answers in Genesis. Believe me, once you start down that rabbit hole, it is very hard to get out!

It is also important to surround yourself with other like-minded believers. This isn’t to say you should cut yourself off from the world completely, but, “As iron sharpens iron,
so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17). It is especially important to find older believers to fellowship with. Our current culture places little value on the previous generation, usually looking at them as “out of touch” or “old-fashioned,” but you will find many beautiful believers in Christ by seeking out those who have been through the storms you are going through.

So, where is the church?

It’s here. It’s you. It’s time to start acting like it.

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