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Move from apathy to enthusiasm!

By Pastor Tom Anderson

Do you have enthusiasm? What is the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care. Apathy among Christians is nothing new. One of the funniest lines in the New Testament happened at the scene of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. He was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. The disciples were just standing there–slack jawed and staring. An angel said this,” Why do you stand looking into heaven?” That’s a pretty good description of an apathetic church!

I read recently that only 1% of American churches have an ongoing emphasis on evangelism. Evangelism is the entire process of connecting new people to saving faith in Jesus Christ. It starts with meeting, building relationships and inviting people. It then moves to follow up, faith sharing and invitations to commitment. It leads to orientation in the essentials of a life of faith, baptism and incorporation into the mission and ministries of the church.

Apathy happens when we allow ourselves to get out of the rhythm of discipleship. When we gather less frequently for Sunday worship, it saps our momentum. When the habits of prayer and searching the scriptures wane, it becomes difficult to work up excitement to reach new people for Christ.

Here’s some things we can do to break out of the doldrums:

  1. Reset your daily habits of prayer and Bible reading. If you find yourself without any plan, pick up a copy of the Upper Room or the Our Daily Bread devotional in the church lobby and pick a time to use it each day. Keep the bulletin prayer list handy in your Bible.

  2. Start having gospel conversations with other church members during the coffee hour. What is a gospel conversation? It is where you tell stories about your efforts to invite others to church or share faith with them in the workplace or neighborhood. In this way we begin to encourage each other and motivate ourselves to reach out.

  3. Pray for the non-believers in your life. Each one of us should have a short list of 5 people we know who neither worship nor follow Jesus. Pray for their needs. Pray for their hearts to be open. Pray God’s kindness on them. Pray for opportunities to invite them to church or share your faith experiences with them. Pray for the courage to speak up when the moment comes.

  4. Talk about Thrive church with others. Tell them about our Praise Band’s excellent music! Share about our efforts to raise funds and send teams to Mexico and Flint to help people in need. Go ahead, it’s okay to boast when you are boasting about what God is doing through his people and what a privilege it is to make a difference in His name!

  5. Keep yourself informed about our summer opportunities: Bible Day Camp, Flint Mission Trip, Summer Youth gatherings, our outdoor worship Sunday. Be ready and able to invite others to join us as you encounter new neighbors and meet new people in your neighborhood. You’ll find the information you need on our website.

Momentum is the driving force of an outward-focused church. It’s often difficult to restore–because apathy is our natural state. I’m told that an airliner uses over 80% of its fuel just taking off. Once it’s in flight it takes very little fuel to maintain. It is the little things that we can start together that will break the apathy and restore the outward motion of a church in mission.


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