When babies are brought into the church they are either baptized or dedicated (denomination dependent). Either way the parents and the members of the church take a vow to be guides and watch over the Christian upbringing of the child inside and out of the church walls. Being brought up in the church, those babies grow to into the youth groups and become more reliant on the Youth Pastor and peers for spiritual growth and their faith walk rather than the parents. This is partially due to the worldly influences of culture and the desire of the youth to go their own. The students then prepare for college or going out into the world and some are left to their own devices with church member and family hopes that they remain in Christ. Thing is, the follow up and accountability slowly falls away because people forgot their responsibilities agreed to when they were dedicated or baptized.
Seriously, parental and church member follow-up does not end when the Youth Pastor and Christian Educators take over. Nor is this to be avoided while they attend college. Guess what, follow-up and accountability continues into adulthood even though it takes a different form for those who pursue ministry.
What about the folks that are within the church even still. Yes we have Deacons, Elders, and Bible Study leaders but they are not able to watch over everybody. We are family no matter how much we may dislike each other but isn’t that the best way to keep accountability and ensure issues and spiritual fitness are followed up upon. Why is it so hard for someone to even ask how a day or week has been when outside the church walls while in passing or meeting for an outing or meal?
I myself am a victim of lack of follow-up and accountability. That is why it is very important for me to get this out there. When I was given an opportunity to go to a college that was an hour away from the church, there was little to know communication with the Deacons or Elders which was strange because I was a Deacon in the church before I left for the college at the age of 20. I was so involved in the college life that I did not even open my Bible. I went back to the church the next summer and they acted as if I never left. They were fortunate that I remembered where the church even was.
Does not the Scripture say to teach a child in the way he/she should go so they remember when they are older? Does not Scripture remind us to watch over those of like mind? How can we say we are following God’s Word when we cannot even do something as simple as contact the college student who is 10 miles away and attending the Campus Worship service much less the ones that are in a whole other state?
Every person at least once in their life falls due to something but if they are truly a faithful child of God they will return. Mine was while I first served the country by joining the Army. I fell away and did not talk to or even think about God for a few years. I returned to him on the “battlefield” while deployed. While in Bosnia I recommitted my life to Christ and was baptized as an adult yet still felt like a child in Christ coming home after a rough few years away. Thing is, you know it was the Holy Spirit tugging at you when under the water and you hear a voice undisturbed by the water and clear as if being spoken directly in the ear saying, “Welcome Home Son”. If that is not going to give chills then nothing will.
Following up and staying in the lives of fellow brothers and sisters no matter the age is of absolute importance. Of course you cannot control the temptations and the hurt that may cause some to slide but God will bring them home when it is time. Some need a Prodigal Son/Daughter moment to wake them up. It is during those times that we let go and let God but keep watch as the father did at his front porch and praising the day of their return.
When we see a fellow Christian outwardly struggling, do not pass by and think that someone else will take care of him or her. What if you are the third person that did that? What would the struggling Christian think? You see, God did not outright say accountability and follow-up but Jesus sure did put it out there plain as day if you truly understood Him.
Do You? If not then you might want to relook at yourself. Brothers and Sisters, continue to pray for guidance and direction so that when the time comes you know what to do if you are that Samaritan, that parent, that shepherd, that gardener that Jesus spoke of. May God grant you the wisdom and understanding of His Word to be the one that brings the lost, home.