Thursday, March 04, 2010

Barna: the lack of zeal

Thursday, March 4, 2010
    Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647
    Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
    —Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
    It occurred to me that in our work with secular organizations, the leader shapes the heart and passion of the corporate entity. In our work with non-profit organizations, we have found the same principle to be operative. When it comes to the focus of the organization, the people who serve there tend to take on many of the core personality traits of the leader toward fulfilling the mandate of the organization. If this is true, and most churches seem to lack the fervor and focus for evangelism, is it reasonable to conclude that it may be because of the lack of zeal most pastors have for identifying, befriending, loving and evangelizing non-Christian people?
    ... George Barna (b. 1955), Evangelism that Works, Gospel Light Pubns., 1995, Regal Books, 1995 (see the book)
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, strengthen Your people that we may each take the Gospel to the world to which we are called.
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Blogger Unknown said...

I am certain that there are many instances that prove Mr. Barna's observations. However, among the few pastors of my acquaintance, zeal is evident. Concerning churchgoers with whom I have come in contact, zeal in spreading the Good News is sadly lacking. I attribute this to these main reasons:
1. The desire to be politically correct in order to not appear odd or offensive
2. Not truly grasping core convictions of one's "faith", thus inhibiting ease of expression
3. Being too lazy and distracted to become familiar with the Bible in order to overcome reason #2
4. Being too shy to ask the pastor to further elucidate points from the sermon or lesson, which would help to overcome reason #2.
5. Failure to appreciate the perilous condition of those without Christ
6. The "Let George do it." mentality that seems to release churchgoers from personal responsibility, having relinquished the privilege of sharing the Good News to the paid minister.
7. Lack of love for the One who rescued us, which leads to a disregard of His command to be His witnesses everywhere.

Sadly, not many of us share Paul's fervor, as expressed in the quotation, which caused him to want to please his God above any other considerations. To be concise: zeal in the pulpit does not seem to be contagious to those in the pews. Were we to firmly focus on cultivating zeal for the Father's business, we would be responding to God's admonition as found in Rev. 3:19, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent." I also refer the reader to Titus 1:16-2:15.

5:17 PM  

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