What a joy it was to meet with so many of my BMA family and friends at the BMA National Meeting in Waxahachie, Texas. The substance of the meeting was great! The members of Farley Street Baptist Church were amazing hosts! The worship was God-honoring and so inspiring, but getting to spend time with folks I haven’t seen in a couple of years was the best part of the meeting for me.
That’s one of the things that I love about church — getting to fellowship with the folks I love. It’s one of the things that makes church, church! But COVID has really impacted church attendance. In fact, it was one of the main topics of discussion that was common for all pastors that I spoke with. A few told me that attendance was back to normal, but most said that attendance was still suffering because of COVID.
Do you remember a few years ago when there was a lot of criticism directed at student pastors, blaming them for young people leaving the church when they got older? I do. There was a lot of talk of “They just played with the kids, so they were not mature Christians.” Was that criticism justified? In some instances, I imagine so, but not in every case.
What can we say about the reasons that some people haven’t come back to worship services? Some blame the ease of watching worship over the internet. I’m sure that’s true for many, but can I offer another possibility? Could it be that many of these that haven’t returned were never disciples of Jesus? I’m not judging anyone’s salvation, but I am saying that part of being a disciple of Jesus is the desire to worship with fellow believers.
This could be an opportunity for pastors and church leaders to ask themselves hard questions:
• Are we truly making disciples?
• Do we have a discipleship process in our church?
• Is what we are doing now effective?
• Is there a better way of doing things?
• Is a one-hour worship service each week enough to really make disciples?
Evaluation is always a tough experience, but I do think this is a good time for us to ask those tough questions. After all, isn’t making disciples what the Great Commission demands? It’s not going to hurt us to at least consider how we can do better at making disciples. Because making disciples is what we do.