And can today’s busy Christian love others as Christ has loved us?
As a pastor for the last 2 years, Jeremiah has wanted to help his church grow, but he has sensed a deep tiredness within the members — constantly stretched with demands from their daily lives, families and work situations. People are regularly absent from church services and small group meetings. When they do attend, they are too distracted and tired to engage deeply. Jeremiah observes that busyness has robbed them of the “space of heart” for true, authentic community to develop.
Sound familiar? Lacking “space of heart” for authentic community is a subtle yet common “pull-back effect” impeding church health in today’s busy culture. A leader’s call for positive change, no matter how clearly articulated, may be met with minimal response when people are simply too busy to contribute wholeheartedly.
Factors Contributing To A Lack Of Care In The Church
- Too much multi-tasking
Many members are so packed with multiple projects that, outside of their already-heavy responsibilities, they have little time and heart to give attention to the people God may be prompting them to care for.
- Struggle for survival
Members are struggling with challenges faced at work and in family matters. They feel Overwhelmed, rather than feel like Overcomers. Understandably, they may not have the heart and time to care for others when they are worrying about their own sustaining, but would also chalk up significant time where there is little conversation and sharing with others.
Helping Your Church To Navigate This Pull-Back Effect
- Recalibrate and refocus
Assess and scale back if there are too many initiatives in church. Challenge people to focus on less but commit to deeper engagements within the “less”. Focus on 1 or 2 key programs that truly help relationship-building, and direct people to choose these above others. Key leaders need to model and lead in this priority – taking the time and effort to engage deeply with others.
- Build small accountability groups within current life-style platforms
Grow small groups where spiritual friendship is the key agenda.
“Encourage the people of God to creatively find time and space for community building, such as mentoring, sharing and prayer with others, using pockets of time like breakfast or lunch. Bring the church to the home and the workplace, so that we can find supportive Christian company where we are.” (Ps Beh Soo Yeong)
- Equip members for counter-culture living
Teach and model lifestyles that sync with godly priorities and rhythms for life. Encourage spiritual fathers and mothers to mentor others in integrating life-stages, responsibilities and priorities, while not neglecting the call to care for one another.
Hear what other Pastors and Leaders say
“There are many people who have already experienced the joy, support and blessing of being in Christian community even while in the trenches of life’s battles. We need to share these testimonies to encourage the people to see the beauty of God’s community. Indeed, the priority to care for one another and “good busyness” can co-exist.” (Pastor Beh Soo Yeong, The Bible Church)
Pastor Beh Soo Yeong
“It boils down to priorities. There is no easy way to build relationships without sacrifice. We don’t get something good without being willing to give up something else. Often, when re-building foundations, you may well lose people who merely want to see “programs” over authentic engagement. Things may have to get worse long before it gets better.” (Rev. Daniel Wee, Church Of Our Saviour)
Rev. Daniel Wee
What Do You Think?
What other factors contribute to the lack of care in the church? How has your church failed or succeeded in navigating this effect in the past? Share your thoughts and let me know how this post has helped you!
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Rev. Dr. Philip Huan is the Principal Consultant at ChurchLife Resources, and is passionate about helping churches and leaders become strong and healthy!