I’ve quit church a million times but I keep coming back because I’ve discovered there are a few things you cannot experience outside of God’s church. However, I can identify with those who quit coming to church. There are thousands of people around us who do not attend any church. Some of them used to participate in a church. Some of them grew up in church but something happened. They became “de-churched.” They simply quit church.
Many of the children who rode the bus to church events and came to Vacation Bible Schools stopped coming when they reached high school. Even children whose parents raised them in church stopped coming. This is a problem for many churches.
This raises a question for me. How can we keep the kids we have now? What can we do to keep them involved in the church and actively following Jesus? What is missing? Why do we lose children when they reach high school? What can be done to win adults and keep our kids close to Jesus and his church?
The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
Read the following passages from the book of Acts to see if you detect a theme.
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. (Acts 2:43)
“O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. (Acts 4:29-33)
The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade. … As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed. (Acts 5:12-16)
Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)
Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time at Iconium, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. (Acts 14:3)
I’m sure you caught the theme. God’s power works in and through the church to change lives. His power works in bold proclamations about Jesus and in answer to prayers for hurting people. It was true in the history of the early church and it is still true today.
Some Christians act as though awe-inspiring miracles and signs of Jesus’ power are simply stories in the Bible. Perhaps you act like they can’t happen now and probably didn’t happen then. But Jesus wants to use you to be someone through whom he can work miracles for people. You need to decide that you’re going to be willing to do whatever he asks, whenever he asks – the rest is up to him. This isn’t a time to be the person who sits back debating. The world needs you to step up and be the hands and feet of a loving Savior extending his hope and grace and the message of salvation.
Perhaps our children, grandchildren and friends are disconnected from Jesus and the church because they don’t realize He’s big enough to meet their needs today. Could it be that their child sized view of Jesus cannot meet their present needs? Who would want to stop participating in a church marked by a growing sense of God’s awe-inspiring power? Who would want to stop participating in a church filled with a sense of awe, conviction and mystery?
Can you report a time when Jesus’ awe-inspiring power touched you or a loved one? I’d love to hear your story.