Accountability and Follow-up: The Unspoken Mission of the Church Family

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.

Belief In Man-Made Or Divine: The Misguidance of the Youth Today

11 18 2017

Answers in Genesis speaker Ken Ham posted an article recently on the things Millennials are turning to for answers and a belief system. The two systems have been around for a very long time but have been perverted to fit man’s desires for understanding. Now God does say that He placed the heavenly bodies out there to show signs and wonders but what signs and wonders was He talking about. These signs are placed so we would understand patterns of life, weather, travel, and our place in the world.

Man has used these signs to try and predict many things using certain designs in the sky. One of the predictors recognized by man is the zodiac which apparently dictates how we will act in certain events. People actually relied (and some still do) on as to how they will go about their day and their let the stars dictate their reactions towards others. God warns us not to do this “divination” or future knowledge seeking to rule our lives. Rather we should rely on our conscious thought which is guided by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

Now I used to believe the accuracy of the zodiac, but when I began to trust in God I found the inaccuracy of how it dictates our social practices. Meaning, purpose, and hope aren’t found in trying to discern patterns in the motions of the heavenly bodies. If you stay within the bounds of the interpretation and the specified social circle in which the interpretation tells you to stay in and away from, you do not really experience life. Letting the stars dictate actions removes us from our God given purpose of being caretakers of this world.

Spiritualism, not what some may think! It is man’s attempt to find purpose and meaning apart from God and his revelation to us in his Word. It is man seeking truth through his/her own inner being and reaching out to the “spirits” in the world. Spiritualists do not put their trust in God but seek inner peace where there is none.       

The article states that the individuals in question are those who are in or entering college. Why are they turning from God? Part of the problem is outside influences where they are not near the comfort of their home church and decide not to find a church near them. Campus Crusade for Christ does not appear to be as active as it used to be because of other collegiate sanctioned activities which have tried to knock anything Christian and or conservative off college grounds. Church groups are not as welcome as they used to be unless the college is a Christian faith based facility.

 The largest problem that leads to youth searching for “other than God” answers is the lack of follow-up starting at the high school level. An even larger issue that turns more and more away to include those in their 30s and 40s is the lack of relationship and belonging found in larger churches. Those churches where you get chided for not tithing your 10%, not being in the right click, are never approached, or the church attendance is more than 1000 and you are a number not a name, people leave. Those that are consistently depended on somehow get the feeling that there is an obligation to be there. The church is not going to blow up if you miss a Sunday!

Another issue may be the message of the church itself. Some are so concerned with the dollar, the message becomes a constant reminder to give in the offering plate. Money does not heal the broken. Some pastors have fallen into the love trap where all you have to do is believe and the rest is taken care of by Jesus without us speaking a word or lifting a finger.

Folks, listen closely to the pastor’s messages and the delivery. If the pastor is transparent and speaks of love, tough love, fear, grace, and mercy all in the same sermon, that is a place to be. An inviting church is a loving church. A church that does not close the outer doors before, during, and after the service is a relational church.

So how do we regain the interest of those who decide they want other human means to ponder life’s questions? Stop playing the Jesus is cool with your sin game and straighten people (and some pastors) up. Yes, Jesus died for our sins by crucifixion, but He did not die so we could freely sin. Yes we are saved by grace through faith but that must be an active faith. Yes we should be inviting to all people no matter their sin, and if they get offended (convicted) it is a good thing. Let’s work with them so they can reflect and find repentance and get right with God.

 God loves each and every one of us because He created us. His love is gracious, merciful, jealous, kind, fearful, comforting, and forgiving. His love knows no bounds and unfailing but is requiring of us to love Him back as a child loves his parent. That means being obedient to His Word. Does that scare people? Yes. So why do people run to worship things that are not Him? Those man made things and beliefs are temporary fixes to a psychological misnomer when make people happy. The only way to life eternal is through Jesus. I don’t know about you but I’d rather worship the entity that has control of my final destination rather than a man thing that makes me happy till I die.     

Connect Reconnect Follow-up

Those three Words are very important for Christians

How many young Christians do you know that you have followed up with after they left the church to go to college or start a job in another area where they have had to leave your congregation? Of that number, how many have you followed-up with? If the answer is even just one then you are doing the right thing. If there are many and you have chosen a few and other adults share in the responsibility with the rest then the church is doing real good. If the answer is none, do you not care for the well-being and spiritual fitness of the soul you let out to the wolves?

The problem we are running into these days is that of epic proportions. Every child that has grown up in the community of the church no matter how old must maintain a connection with someone they can trust within the bounds of the community. But the problem is that many fall through the cracks and are seduced by the extremes of society. Think of the prodigal son on a grand scale but this son does not come back even in his/her lowest. That is what happened.

How many times have you heard it said of a youth that they are in a real bad way and just talk without any kind of action? WHAT IS WRONG? Have we forgotten that the college/young adult years are actually the most vulnerable? This is the time the Adversary moves in quickly unless they are firmly grounded and had a good healthy upbringing.

Then there are those who are in the church try to do their best and still have people downgrading them instead of guiding them including their own parents. For one, BAD Parenting. For two, bad congregation for not seeing the truth of it. What happened to guide and protect the youth, letting them explore but with the knowledge they can come home. If the situation is bad at home they will want to escape and maybe find the straight and narrow or be pushed into the Devil’s arms.

If we do not care for those who are in those very tumult years, the Devil wins and takes us with. You want to know what is wrong with society today, look into your own church first then look at those young adults sent out into the world from your church. Then look at the dangerous attitudes outside the church and you will see why this country is suffering from a Romans 1 type destruction. Churches lose people from 18-35 because they get lost to the world. They grow into bitter and lost adults when they are left from any kind of follow-up.

The distortion of the Christian world-view is also at fault. Yes, some traditions are archaic but we must keep God at the center. Everyone sins and there are some that God abhors more than others but everyone still sins. The issue should not be who is allowed in the church and who isn’t, all who sin and seek forgiveness and have faith in Jesus are allowed. Of course they must (as we should) be the same in and out of the church. The basic tenants of the Bible and the church need to be firmly stated, affirmed, and adhered to in all facets of life. We must stop separating personal and church lives.

People who see Christians doing as they say, living a Christ-like life the best possible way, will begin to understand how good it is and how hard it is to truly be Christian. When brothers and sisters in Christ become lost in the world and stay lost, there was a lack of Christians doing good follow-up. We are to check up on each other and remind ourselves of the oath of faith and the reason for the baptism. Remember, it was not, “I’m baptized, I got Jesus, I’m good and can go on sinning” (the Sola Jesu thinking of post-modern Christians). It is, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior and accepting Him means taking up my cross daily, doing my best to live in accordance with the teachings of Christ, emulating Him in my daily life”.

Are you ready to reconnect and follow-up?? Are you willing?

Heavenly Father Gracious Lord,

Please help us reconnect with the forgotten generation, they have lost Your teachings and need to come home. Shower us with Your Holy Spirit and revive us so that we may live a more Christ-like life. Grant us the desire once again to share Your Word no matter where we are or whatever situation in which we find ourselves. Teach us to love all people no matter who they are. Thank You Father for giving us Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.