Friday, 11 May 2012

Reflections on the future of the Church

Sometimes I wonder what kind of Church we will have when the current generation of young people take up leadership roles. I wonder whether we will have a great spiritual impact on society. I wonder whether we will plant many churches and whether they will have godly leaders. All these things are possible because nothing is too hard for the Lord and yet we also know from history that there have been times when the Church has been very weak. There is also the possibility that the glory of the Lord can depart from His people.

Some say it is not for us to bother about the future of the Church because the Lord is in control. My concern is not about whether or not He will prove Himself faithful. Rather, it is about whether the current generation is concerned enough about the spread of the gospel and righteous living. Perhaps at the back of the mind of the average young Christian is the thought, “if I become too serious about Church Life now I will miss out on things that I should be enjoying as a young person and my life will become boring. I will become more committed when I grow older.” I cannot think of words that are strong enough to show how wrong such thinking is. As we grow older we have more responsibilities which compete with the time that we would want to spend in service to the Lord.
There is also the fact that as we grow older our bodies become weaker and prone to illness. Should you give your greatest energy to all your other pursuits and then come to God to serve Him when you can hardly see or hear and have very little energy? Is that not equivalent to offering a lame or diseased animal to the Lord (Malachi 1: 7-8)? Consider also that if one does not have a habit of praying and reading the Bible when they are younger how do they expect to develop such a habit when they are older?

When a young person thinks that becoming more involved in service to God is boring we have to ask such a person what they think about God Himself. We have to ask where such a person draws their inspiration for life from and what matters the most in their lives. I fear, for myself as well, that many of us, at the rate we are going, will either become too busy for God and His Church and more excited about other pursuits in life than the flourishing of the Church.

What should we our desire be for the future of the Church? It should be that we will have a Church that is passionate about prayer (Ephesians 6: 18) and holds firmly to the truth of Holy Scripture. It should be that marriages will be founded on God's word, that Preachers will rightly, skillfully and passionately speak on behalf of their God and will feed us not with what tickles us but what we need to hear even though it may prick our hearts at times. It should be that the Holy Spirit will move mightily as He did at Pentecost and awaken people to the reality of what life truly is, that the light of the gospel will dispel the darkness of their minds (2 Corinthians 4: 4-6).

Revive thy work O Lord; disturb this sleep of death,
Quicken the smoldering embers now, with thine almighty breath.

By Peter Ndalameta 

1 comment:

  1. Brother Peter, what a great article! Thank you!

    As I read, my mind wondered whether the question of future leaders for the church is a problem to do with the way we "do" church right now. What I mean is, the call to be a Christian is a call to follow Christ and I think we have lost something of what that means. When Jesus called the first disciples he said, "Come, follow me," and here's the forgotten part, "And I will send you out to fish for people." (Matthew 4:19)
    What I'm essentially driving at is that we have forgotten so we follow Christ so that we might become like Him and in turn go and bring others in so that they too may become like Christ. There's a word for this - discipleship!

    In my view, if we were to do better at discipleship there would be a clearer and bright future for the church. Now some say that Sunday meetings and Bible studies are places where we receive discipleship. This is true but I contend not sufficient. We can draw many lessons about discipleship from the way that our Lord taught and trained the 12. I will not get into that now but just say, discipleship must be deliberate and planned. And at it's essence evangelism is not merely preaching the word; evangelism is disciples making disciples (cf. Matt 28:19)