There’s an epidemic that is sweeping our nation, and it seems so elusive at times I can hardly put my finger on it.
- It comes with a friend bailing on you because another bigger, better party (or nap opportunity) came up.
- It comes when marriages break into a million little pieces and call everyone into question that surrounds the broken relationship.
- It comes when families no longer understand the value of trust and giving without asking for payback.
- It comes when someone stops shopping at the Mom&Pop shop because a new and better store came into town.
- It comes when a friend continues to ghost you and not call, text, or message back with no apology. Even months later.
- It comes when a family leaves your church because it’s not filling their own needs.
What is this thing that has emerged in our personal thoughts, families, lifestyles, relationships, marriages, and now churches?
Some would call it a lack of commitment. But where did the previous commitment go? Was it even really there in the first place? As I look back at our nation’s history… I see a trail of disloyalty within the church. Churches splitting… new denominations created… competitions growing amidst congregations.
Since planting a church, a whole new level of disloyalty has emerged. And this one… scares me.
As I’ve poured thru scripture, my understanding of what Jesus called the church to, was mostly incorrect. (Here’s a hint… the church was called to be a Kingdom.) A paragraph in the 2nd chapter of Acts continues to haunt me as I learn more and more about the Kingdom of God.
Acts 2:42-47 The Passion Translation (TPT)
The Community of Believers
Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer. A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had. Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them. Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion. They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility. They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life.
This oneness seems to be elusive to many churches today. And I wonder if it’s because we are looking for the wrong thing when we look for a church family.
I don’t believe we are called just to gather to have our needs filled. (Gasp!) If we are only looking to love ourselves… then we will attend a church if they provide: an excellent and entertaining kids’ ministry; an uplifting and rocking praise and worship service; bible studies with popular teachers that draw crowds; and a preacher who is funny, yet serious, yet knows his Bible in the original languages and can relate to everyone he comes in contact with.
Honestly, looking at that last statement takes my breath away… and not in a good way. Like someone punched me in the throat kind of way. People are openly choosing to be disloyal to the Kingdom of God… over and over and over.
They choose their comfort over maturing spiritually. (It’s not easy.) They decide to point fingers of judgment towards others instead of just loving them. They choose to sleep in, instead of investing in those that God has called us to love upon. They decide to leave a church behind without even a word because they weren’t given the proper “acknowledgment” that they thought they deserved. They choose to forgo building relationships with friends in the church because it gets real… quick. They prefer to gossip and divide the Kingdom openly with harsh words about others.
That’s not right. That’s not what Jesus came to establish.
I’m humbled by the simple fact that God has allowed my husband and I to be a part of such a loving and grace-filled community during the last six years. But I hurt when I see people choose to be disloyal to the church over and over and over… and not just our church. All churches, nationwide.
There seems to be a fear of telling the truth to those we need to be honest with… but more importantly, a fear of telling the truth to ourselves.
We need to ask ourselves… what do we really want?
To be a part of the Kingdom? Because that, people, demands loyalty.