Acts of Faith: Pastors searching for the same as you

The church is in crisis mode, as the number of people leaving church each Sunday continues to outnumber the number who return.

  • Jul. 19, 2012 6:00 a.m.

The church is in crisis mode, as the number of people leaving church each Sunday continues to outnumber the number who return.

The crisis, however, isn’t about the numbers, an increasingly secular culture or some kind of societal pressures to dismiss God.

The crisis is internal. It is in the reality of our faith, and the numbers are simply a symptom. We have ended our genuine and persistent exploration of God’s love in lieu of doctrine, programs, services, and contentment.

Just this week I opened my email to read: “Bradley, you know I had trouble with church and ‘God’…”

The trouble with ‘God’ is an expression of the trouble with church, it is the ‘god’ we’re representing, a ‘god’ that is not present, a ‘god’ that doesn’t transform our life or our community, a ‘god’ that doesn’t impassion us to live and breathe our faith, a ‘god’ that doesn’t reflect the most perfect expression in the life of Jesus.

Our faith isn’t touchable or real or visible. At least it doesn’t appear to be. Countless of my conversations begin just like that email, because the world cannot see what a Christian community is supposed to be in the midst of our crisis of faith.

Hugh Halter asks in The Tangible Kingdom, “If Christianity was only about finding a group of people to live life with, who shared openly their search for God and allowed anyone, regardless of behavior, to seek too, and who collectively lived by faith to make the world a little more like Heaven, would you be interested?”

Halter was met with an exuberant response, because, like the rest of us, the man was searching for tangible faith, a place where faith impacts life in our community, a place where Jesus’ words come to life.

I assure you that pastors are aware of the crisis, but we, just like you, are searching for this tangible faith. We sense, too, the inconsistencies between Jesus’ passionate message of love and our internal and unimpactful faith.

Seven words have become increasingly significant to my  understanding of the Christian’s call. You’re probably familiar with them, “on earth as it is in heaven.”

We’re not simply called to pray about it; we’re called to live out our faith in a way that God’s kingdom is present on earth.

Real, visible, touchable faith is hard. Our God has endless mystery and a love that should infiltrate our entire beings, our lives and our community. Exploring God’s love is an act of receiving and expressing that love in our community; it is an act that brings God’s kingdom to earth.

 

• Bradley Christianson-Barker is pastor at Open Door Church.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Supporters turn out to honour art gallery curator

LETTER: 40 people turned out to thank Barbara Duncan for her contribution the arts in Maple Ridge

Codd Wetlands credited with helping reduce carbon footprint

Ecologically sensitive land in north Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge part of climate change strategy

Parking rates increase around Maple Ridge city hall

Construction also begins on a 128-stall commuter parking lot next to the bus exchange

Record numbers flock to Golden Ears Provincial Park

Rolley Lake Provincial Park busy as well, lineups expected this weekend

LETTER: Who says which healthcare workers are deserving of top ups

Care aide critical of how province pays special COVID wage increase to public not private workers

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway

President Donald Trump said the jobs report shows the economy is “roaring back”

Ottawa jail inmates argue anti-COVID measures a breach of charter rights

The prisoners allege guards did not wear masks until April 25

Epstein pal arrested, accused of luring girls for sex abuse

Ghislaine Maxwell was in an intimate relationship with Epstein for years

B.C. repairs COVID-19 emergency order for local government

Ombudsperson shut out as his recommendations implemented

More than 50,000 Coronavirus cases reported per day in US

Coronavirus cases are rising in 40 of 50 US states

Trump plans huge July 4 fireworks show despite DC’s concerns

Despite health concerns from D.C.’s mayor, no one apparently will be required to wear masks

Canadian engineer detained in Egypt released, needs treatment, family says

Yasser Albaz was detained at the Cairo airport after a business trip in February of 2019

Reports of military member arrested after truck rammed gate near Trudeau residence

Officers descended on the sprawling estate Thursday morning.

Most Read