It’s all right here.
And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. —Acts 2:47b
While I’m OBVIOUSLY no left-brained thinker (Squirrel? Where?), I imagine there a lot of books a rocket scientist has read in his or her long course of studies that have enabled them to land (no pun) The Dream Job. I have no idea what the books are about. Seriously. What DO they study? Astrophysics? Gravity? Aluminum foil?
SIDENOTE QUESTION: do people study aluminum foil?
My point is rocket scientists do need to invest in endless hours of academic endeavors that enable us to gain knowledge of (and possible a future home in) outer space. And let’s be real Saturday morning cartoon fans of yore, who doesn’t want to be a part of the Jetson family—at least for a while?
I’m in an academic pursuit. I really big one. This semester, my required reading amounts to 3 hours a day. Tons of stuff. All on church and the many varied aspects of it. How do churches grow? Why are they changing? What factors brought on these changes, and how do these influences affect the church today and tomorrow?
If I close my eyes, I can hear multiple authors in my head. Yep. That IS as weird as it sounds.
The BIG question I read about is why churches today are shrinking in influence and attendance. According to Robert P. Jones, author of The Death of White Christian America, an answer to this question began during the post World War II era when, under the auspices of a Caucasian church-influenced culture that sought more control and political persuasion than perhaps it should have, the church began the decline.
Other scholars align with Jones. Then, too, others present different ways of looking at the challenges of church life today. But to show you the volume of works produced each month, check publishers who focus on the needs of pastors today. You’ll see that the overwhelming majority of books marketed and sold each month address the rapid decline of church life, growth, and wellbeing.
I love my study. Oh, I do! And I love these books I’m reading. They’re illuminating, inspiring, and mega informative, yet one book alone deserves our utmost focus. It’s the Book of Acts. Acts 2:42-47, for example, equips the church with everything it needs to establish “success” in any age.
The recipe is clear. One, devote yourselves to the apostles’ teaching (i.e. gain wisdom, knowledge and application in the Word of God; two, share meals (including the Lord’s Supper or the Greek here means the breaking of bread) together; three, meet in one place (including worshipping together at the Temple) and share everything you have; four, sell property and possessions and share the money with those in need; and five (and this is the totally cool one), praise God and enjoy the goodwill of all people.
Boom. It’s that simple. Truly. We need no more study on WHAT to do, it’s there.
Now let’s do it.
PRAYER: We can be sinful screw ups, both corporately and individually. We can be fearful rather than faithful—each of us. But the church then, and some churches today, do experience Your adding numbers to their fellowship, their family. (Thank You for this!) May we continue to trust, listen, love and act so that church growth is the norm, not the exception. In Your Son’s name, we pray…Amen.