Your alarm clock goes off.
__groan and go back to sleep?
__press the snooze button?
__get up ready for action?
How does your answer mirror your reaction to what’s happening to the church today?
Well, we just got a wake-up call:
For the first time in our history, the number of Americans reporting “no religion” (23.1%) crept ever so slightly above Catholics (23%) and evangelicals (22.5%). Plus, the percentage of Americans who say they belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque has fallen to half the population (50%). The lowest ever in our country.
Friends, the church we love has fallen asleep.
“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
We can’t dismiss the decline in church trends. It’s like knowing that mysterious lump isn’t “right.” We know we should see a doctor, but we just keep putting it off. Truth is, the sooner we take action, the better our chances of getting healthy.
It’s time to wake up and get healthy.
In our book Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore: And How Four Acts of Love Will Make Your Church Irresistible, we outline four Jesus-inspired wake-up calls. They’re practical actions each of us can do to BE the church. Our LOVE in action can reverse negative impressions, experiences, and preconceptions people have of church.
Wake up to Four Acts of Love
1–Radical Hospitality. In a world that’s more hostile than hospitable, we love. Instead of judging (that’s expected), we love with listening ears, open arms, and Jesus hearts. Barbara Huisman, one of our ministry friends, says there’s a razor-thin edge between us all that makes each one of us the “least, lost, and lonely.” In truth, we all need Radical Hospitality. Her ministry welcomes the homeless who walk through her doors as warmly as those who drive up in their BMWs. Learn more about their ministry of Lifetree Cafe.
2—Fearless Conversation. When it comes to church, people expect lectures and squelched questions. That must change! For example, when we asked preteens about their concerns, they barraged us with faith questions. Finally, one exasperated girl exclaimed, “Why can’t we ask questions like this at church?” So… a new preteen curriculum “BE BOLD” was born!
Your everyday conversations provide one-on-one opportunities to practice fearless conversations to listen in love. The book GodSpace by Doug Pollock will inspire “wondering” questions to further two-way conversations. “I wonder what led you to think that…” or “I wonder why you feel that way…”
3—Genuine Humility. This act of love requires us to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Ahh, the evergreen golden rule. ‘Nuff said.
4–Divine Anticipation. This means living in the mystery and wonder of God. We can watch for—and talk about—God’s reality, presence, and action in our lives today. We call that “God Sightings.” Even preschoolers can do this. They (we) can watch for God and recognize kindness, the beauty in creation, the warmth of a hug. Simply acknowledging God reminds you and others he matters. For an energetic dose of God Sightings, volunteer or visit a Group VBS this summer.
Jesus is calling us to wake up and put love into action! A good place to start?
Pray: Jesus, let your love flow through me. Take away my fears. Give me your eyes to see past invisible differences like beliefs, values, political views, and lifestyles. Help me look past visible differences like clothing, skin color, age, gender, and economic status. Sprinkle my conversations with you and your love. Infuse me with your humility. Help me see your divine actions all around. Empower me to love with radical hospitality, fearless conversation, genuine humility, and divine anticipation. In your loving name, amen.
BONUS: Looking for a movie night? Watch our film that “shows” the research in real stories.