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

Just Posted

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

Expect increased distancing enforcement in Maple Ridge parks

This long weekend park ambassadors, bylaw officers, and Mounties will be watching social distancing

Maple Ridge hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

Maple Ridge man runs for 25 hours in virtual marathon

Mike Huber was one of 2,400 runners from 64 countries

IN IT TOGETHER: Ponder a mini vacation and make the best of what’s happening

Maple Ridge mom offers series of wellness columns aimed at helping navigate through COVID-19

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

Cancellations of plant orders prompt advent of pop-up garden shops

A Langley nursery is partnering with local eateries to sell 40 acres of veggie plants and flowers

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

Most Read