Many today have given up on the church. Whether this is because of their upbringing, their personal experiences, or their own beliefs, Sunday services are just no longer relevant to their lives. I’d like to share a few ideas to encourage you as leaders to reach those people.
Be Patient, Not Critical.
The reasons these particular people have given up on the church may be justifiable or they may not be. Either way, being critical does nothing. Instead, being a good listener and understanding their perspectives may help you to know how to encourage them. When Paul the apostle spoke of his approach to new believers, he explained, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Thess. 2:7). He later went on to say, “as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children” (1 Thess. 2:11). That’s the kind of approach it takes in our day with those who have given up on the church. Being patient with them can make a phenomenal difference.
Go To Them, Don’t Wait For Them To Come To You.
The best follow-up for new believers is often to meet with them once a week for eight weeks. That regular contact as they are adjusting to their new life in Christ can make an immeasurable difference. Follow-up material is highly important. Many have benefitted from EvanTell’s 31 Days to Living as a New Believer and Welcome to the Family. It is your presence, though, that makes the greatest difference.
As you interact with them, they share their struggles in adjusting to their new lives, the reactions of family and friends, and temptations they are trying to avoid. Your caring heart is what they need most. They may have no one else with whom they can discuss spiritual things, but they know they can speak to you. As they hopefully get interested in going to church, they have someone with whom they can go. A lot of people go to a particular church because they have a friend who invited them there. You are now that friend.
Present Church Biblically, Not Legalistically.
Scripture encourages us to not forsake the assembling together as believers (Heb. 10:25). The reason given, though, is the encouragement we can be to one another as we seek to grow as believers. It’s one way we can “stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). New believers need us, but we also need new believers.
Whatever you do, don’t make church attendance an indication of their sincerity or salvation. Scripture doesn’t imply that, and neither should we.
Convincing a new believer to be excited about church is not always easy. When approached properly, though, a new believer begins to see the fellowship of believers as both a meaningful and positive experience.