Updated: Jun 15, 2022
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Psalm 51:12-13 NASB
Since I settled down and started a family some 50 years ago, I have either been a church attender or member. I did this not because it’s what you should do as a Christian, but because I wanted to. I needed the infusion of the Holy Spirit every Sunday in order to stay spiritually fit.
However, there came a time about 20 years ago when this commitment waned. I was going to a small Lutheran Church in Idaho and watched kind of jealously as some of my buddies sometimes were playing hooky, especially on a beautiful Sunday morning perfect for a round of golf.
During this time, I sometimes listened to a Christian radio station on my way to work and happened to hear about a book called The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel. Strobel was an atheist investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune and accepted a challenge from his Christian wife to research the facts of Jesus – his life, his death and his resurrection. If the investigation proved that He was who He said he was, then Strobel agreed that he’d begin the journey to become a Christian. The result – he not only became a believer but ended up writing many books arguing the validity of the faith.
The Case for Christ was life-changing for me. It deepened my faith to the point of making my Sunday mornings more meaningful and my church membership more vital. It also ignited over time a new fire in my life to take seriously Jesus’ words to go and make disciples of all nations (peoples).
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matt 28:19 NASB
Also, the book encouraged my conviction that the Gospel has a place in the public square regarding the divisions and injustice in our area and in the world.
Okay, so what’s this got to do with my subject about church and the forgotten factor?
First, here’s what’s NOT forgotten. Most Churches like Creekside, and the communities which sprang up spontaneously 2,000 years ago, fulfill many important needs. Members help each other in time of need. They rally together to do good for others outside the community. Ideally, they are a community of believers of different backgrounds and social points of view which expand each other’s world view. They are, in most cases, part of denominations that as a whole can influence world needs for good, as the Covenant does. They are places to worship and places for people to find solace in times of crisis such as after 9/11.
But, the forgotten factor? Is Jesus’ Great Commission always with us? Are we, our community, invitational? Do we regularly think of people we could invite to Easter and Christmas services? Even those in our area among the 38% who don’t speak English as a primary language in their homes? What about the Alpha classes? Such a great opportunity.
Making disciples is not about standing on the street corner at a Mariners game and preaching about going to hell if you don’t believe. The forgotten factor I’m referring to is something inside each of us that yearns for everyone we know to be introduced to Jesus.
May we in our community of believers not be satisfied until we have at least invited everyone we know to meet the One of peace, hope, and new life. Do I always do and feel this? No. But this is my prayer for myself and all of us.