Sunday, July 18, 2010

Member or Disciple?

Today is Rebekah's birthday. I always enjoy listening to her sermons, but today I couldn't help thinking about how cool it is to have the opportunity to share what's on your heart with 350- people - especially on your birthday.

I'm putting in a link to the church sermon podcast page. If you've never heard Rebekah or Tim preach then this is a good resource and I'd HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! Click here.

Rebekah - along with Tim - is preaching a summer series around the general idea of "Growing up in Christ." It's about maturity, about what it means to move forward in faith and to live more deliberately as Jesus-followers committed to a life of faith that is active.

Such an emphasis reveals the unspoken reality that many of us pretty-much stand still as people of faith. Neither Tim nor Rebekah are referencing my book, "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian", but we're all talking about the same thing when it comes down to it - we're talking about a faith that informs every aspect of our living.

I don't have the statistics on this, but I wouldn't be surprised to discover that far less than 25% of church members (across the board in the USA) even think about their Christianity as a daily, moment-by-moment walk with Jesus.

I have a couple of numbers that tend to support my gut instinct, however.
  1. Less than 10% of Christians have an active, daily, purposeful devotional life where they worship and study and pray intentionally.
  2. The average American church has less than 35% of "members" in worship on a given Sunday.
  3. The average American church has less than 20% of its membership involved in regular activities (study, mission, ministry teams, small groups) during the week, between Sundays).

My church - First Presbyterian of Brandon - has around 520 members, with attendance ranging from the summer low of 300 plus to over 400 during the school year . Average comes in at just under 400 (that's 60-80% attendance). Somewhere around 75% are involved actively beyond worship.

But everyone in leadership believes the key measurement is "are we moving forward?". Are we more faithful today than we were last year? Is my faith more of a factor in the day-to-day than it was in the past?

Am I "growing up" in Christ?

Or, to put it another way, "Am I a disciple of Jesus?"

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