The 20%

The 20%

Let’s look at the research. The Barna Group, a respected Christian research association, surveyed Christian adults about their own discipleship.

  • Four out of five believers said that having a deep, personal commitment to the Christian faith is a top priority.
  • Three out of five went on to say they want to have this deep commitment but they are not currently involved in any intentional effort to grow spiritually.

Barna then notes, per the research, that the prevailing mindset among Christian adults points to a place of spiritual maintenance rather than spiritual growth. These adults have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and have learned some of the core lessons from scripture, so now they just need to stay the course.

So what happens with that new temple? Well, do you have a mirror?

Perhaps a difficult truth for all of us to hear applies right now: not moving forward in faith is really moving backward.

There is no spiritual cruise control or auto-pilot. We are always called to be investing in our own walk, seeking after Christ in order to be made like him. It is a lifelong process, and even the most saintly and spiritually mature among us have not yet arrived.

I do not say this to lay guilt on anyone. Rather, perhaps we need a reminder that we’re not yet finished. Perhaps we need a fire lit under us. Perhaps we need to reevaluate our goals, in order to reevaluate our priorities, in order to reorder our daily life so we can move back out of maintenance mode. In what ways can we continue moving forward in our discipleship?

  • Of the large survey done, just one in five Christian adults are actively engaged in a regular, personal spiritual development activity (besides attending a worship service).

The number of available regular activities to choose from is large. Regular scripture reading for study, regular scripture reading for prayer, regular prayers of praise, regular praise of intercession, regular bible studies at church, regular meetings with other Christians to talk about faith, and the list goes on.

In our house in the last few years, we’ve tried to make changes to some of our language. This is not about our spirituality specifically, but just about being more honest and self-aware. One example: we’ve tried to move from saying “I didn’t get time…” to “I didn’t make time…” This is an exercise in taking personal responsibility for the ways we prioritize our time. We try to use it often. From talking about household chores to bigger things like spiritual health.

It’s easy to become the victim of time. I’m not immune to feeling this way, and I’m certainly not immune to blaming the busyness of life for my lack of spiritual fervor. “I had plans to read my Bible, but I just didn’t get time.” What if we changed our language, shifting the responsibility on ourselves and the way we prioritize? “I had plans to read my Bible, but I just didn’t make time.”

That hits different. It stings a little.

The research points to the best laid plans of adult Christians. They want to be involved in healthy spiritual development. They want to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. But at the end of the day, only about 20% have found a way to make this happen.

I’m writing today not with all the answers, but with some questions to get us thinking.

  • Where do you find yourself in this conversation?
  • Where would you like to find yourself?
  • How can we step back and take a look at our priorities in order that we don’t find ourselves just living in maintenance mode?

May the Spirit of God be moving among us, giving us a desire to actively seek out opportunities for growth.

Pastor Kyle
Family Pastor

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Generosity

Generosity

Generosity. What’s is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that word? If you are like me, I naturally thought about money. It is good to be generous in giving money. In fact, the Bible tells us to be generous with our money. However, I want to talk about a different kind of generosity. A generosity that involves sacrifice. The ultimate act of generosity is God sacrificing His Son so you and I could be in right relationship with our Creator. I believe God wants us to be generous with more than just money. I believe He wants us to be generous with our time and our talents.

So what happens with that new temple? Well, do you have a mirror?

For us to be generous with our time and talents, we must, first, be willing to sacrifice those things and set aside our personal wants or needs. The only appropriate response to God’s sacrifice is to give our time and talents generously to further God’s kingdom.

I truly believe that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my youth pastor sacrificing his time to invest in me. He saw something in me that no one else, including myself, could see. When we give up our “free time” to invest in someone else’s life, the possibilities for God to move are endless.

I worked at Camp Table Rock, a Christian summer camp, for four summers. Every summer, college students gave up their summers to invest in teens from all around the Midwest. Not only that, but they also gave their talents to help lead teens to a deeper relationship with Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, and you will abound in every good work.”

I challenge all of us to be intentional about finding ways in which God can use us to further His kingdom. Where can I give my time? To whom can I give more time? How can God use my talents to bring about redemption to those around me?

Austin Redlich
Youth Pastor

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Fear

Fear

As a parent, I fear for the future of my kids. As a pastor a fear not only for my own kids but all young people connected with the church. I take seriously our desire to be a “generational” church in the sense that we want to pass faith on to future generations, but sometimes the future of the world around us looks so bleak that I find myself overcome by feelings of helplessness regarding my dual responsibilities as father and pastor. I know I’m not alone in this. There is a pervading fear about the future of our young people and the future of the church. So what can we do? To begin with, we need a better understanding of what fear can do to us.

Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can be motivating in the sense that it often keeps us on our toes and propels us to take action. But it can also have the opposite effect in that it can paralyze us to the point where we convince ourselves that the best action might be to do nothing. There is much power in fear, and in order to address our fears we need to have a better understanding of what fear really is.

The very essence of fear is grounded in the unknown. That’s really what we fear, isn’t it?  We fear what “might happen” or what “could happen.”  Think about what you fear.  Fear always deals with the future.  The word “fear” at its most basic level always deals with the future.  We fear storms because of their potential.  We fear a snake because it is unpredictable.  We fear a shot at the doctor’s office because it “might hurt.”  We fear that our kids “might not” turn out the way we hope they will. 

The object of our fear can’t touch us in the present moment.  However, fear itself can paralyze us.  At his inauguration Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  I think he was on to something.  As America was facing perhaps its most formidable obstacle–The Great Depression–FDR knew the greatest hurdle wasn’t simply overcoming the economic crisis. It was deeper than that. The greatest obstacle was helping the country overcome its fear.

Fear itself can grip us and entangle us to the point that it’s much more debilitating than the object of our fear.

There is much to fear regarding the future of our young people, but we must keep in perspective that God is in control. I know this is cliché but “cliché” doesn’t mean we just toss it aside. We must continually live in the truth that God IS in control.

We must also be reminded that we have a heavy responsibility to do our part to help future generations learn to pattern their lives after God’s will. As adults we must take seriously the impact we can have in this process. We don’t “do” Children’s Ministry just so our kids have something to do or so our adults can do their thing. We don’t have youth group and retreats for our teenagers just to keep them busy. We don’t encourage parents to lead their families in prayer, scripture reading, and God conversations just so we can check a box that makes parents feel better. No, these are intentional endeavors that shape the future of our young people and provide them with as many chances as possible to grasp onto their own faith in God.

So, do not let fear paralyze us. Our future depends on it.

Email Pastor Robby

My Place

My Place

I remember being in middle school and high school and yearning for a place. A place to fit in. A place to feel welcomed. A place where I could share my hopes, dreams, fears, and worries. As a 13 or 14 year old, I didn’t know what that place would look like. I grew up in a multicultural church that also valued intergenerational ministry. I felt as if I knew most of my church family, but still yearned for that “place.”

It was my freshman year of high school when I remember a drastic change in my youth group and overall church experience. I had a youth leader who was intentional about taking her small group under her wing and pouring into us each and every week. Not just at church, but outside of the church. We began doing life together. I remember one specific time where I was recovering from surgery and my small group made cards and our leader came and stayed with me during what was a normal church service time. This person made a lasting impact on my life and so did the other girls in my group.

As I was thinking and praying about ministry at LFC, I can’t help but hope and pray that our life groups and small groups have the same lasting impressions on all those who are apart. We truly are a people who are better together. After all, God created us to be in community with Him and other believers.

 

Alissa Patterson
Children’s Pastor

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