Karra Overholt – Guest Host
A Canadian wide study was done a few years a go (around 2012) called Hemorrhaging Faith, about why people are leaving the Church. Out of that research emerged a booklet, Transfusing Life, for youth and young adult pastors on why people leave, but also why they stay. It is a great resource to bring practical reasons why and practical tips on ways to help students stay.
On the show, I got a little emotional at the fact that Church has some how come to be seen as a place that causes pain and hurt rather then healing and freedom. The reality is that Church is filled with broken people, myself included, who have been hurt, and have in turn, hurt others. The problem with viewing the local church as a primary source of pain, is the gathering was actually Jesus’ idea – He made it up. That begs the question, why? At my Church, we actually thought this was a really good question to be asking: Why Church? We ended up doing an entire series on it. ((www.churchontherock.ca/messages/why-church/) I think one of the reasons some people stop going to church is the lack of authenticity. It’s this type of Christianity that is surface level. It is the “cultural Christians” that say with their mouths they love Jesus, come with a fake smile to Church, but go home and live completely different lives, believing that’s what it means to follow Jesus – to offer a tribute to His life one hour a week.
My friends, Surface level Christianity is a disease that needs to be eradicated! In Christ is LIFE: newness, restoration, emotional healing, real Joy, real Peace, real unconditional love. However, this type of Christianity is also hard!. We are to die to ourselves and out of that death comes this new life. God longs for intimacy with us; however, if I want true intimacy, I need to be completely vulnerable with Jesus. I need to expose my pain, expose my sin, expose my struggles and fears, and then he can work in me so he can work through me. But, I can’t do that by myself. I need the body of Christ, the local Church. I need people who will walk me through healing, walk me thorough pain and walk me through my stubborn sin to the other side of the cross where new life is found. I also have spiritual gifts that are really only meant to be used to edify the body of Christ and are useless unless I use them, for others, in a local Church (1 Corinthians 12). Also, it’s a lot easier to be a “nice Christian” when all of the people I surround myself with are just like me. It’s harder when I come to the body of Christ and all of the sudden I am called to love someone I don’t really like outside my friend group. I want to experience life to the full and some things can only be experience in community, The Gathering.