Finding Life in a Dead Church | Jay Fesperman (3/3)
Another tack. . . . How do the young people today react when they get the news that the church approves of homosexual lifestyles? Or what answer do they get when they ask the church, “Where do you stand on abortion?” We know of a few churches that not only speak out forcibly against abortion, but whose members are taking into their homes young women who have decided against abortion. Then there is the matter of money. Jesus said, “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. What kind of vibes is the church sending off [in regard] to the use of money, or their need of money? Frankly, I am amazed at the enormity of the church’s cry for money and, at the same time, the almost total absence of any teaching or training of her young people about what God expects from them in the use of their money.
Go to a dead church, and someone will ask, “Where are all the young people?” Well, I can truthfully say that I find them by the thousands in newly formed churches, which are attempting to correct all the things that I have mentioned in this letter – plus a lot more! Even in Africa where we were ministering to people who were mostly contacted by folks from churches which had been booted out of a denomination – most of the people were less than 30 years old. And I just had a letter from that part of the world saying how dead the church is. Well, when the Bible comes alive to those young people who heard the word and saw the many miracles, the CHURCH which Jesus is building will start a fire on that dark continent! Africa is coming alive in the things of God, because a new generation of young Christian is being prepared.
We are being asked to help start a TRAINING situation in a group of new churches in Zambia. It will be based on training young African families in 1) Bible Study; 2) Personal Discipline; and 3) Learning a Trade. Leadership for the churches of that nation will come out of that kind of preparation. It will not come from bringing these young men to America to be put through the existing kind of seminary training.
Jesus said, “I have come that they might have LIFE – abundantly!” (emphasis mine). Not only did He bring life for the church, but He made it clear that His Life would be available only THROUGH the church. Paul told the church at Thessalonica that they were to be a model for other bodies in that part of the world. “You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit, and so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia, (and) your faith in God has become known EVERYWHERE!” (1 Thessalonians 1:7, emphasis mine).
May it be so in your church, wherever you are, or whatever your label.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Volume 5, No.3, May 1985.