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Back-row Backsliders

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

"God only knows what you've been through. God only knows what they say about you. God only knows how it's killing you. But there's a kind of love that God only knows." For King and Country

What are some of the main reasons people (who believe) don't go to church? Ponder that thought for a minute.

I have several friends who were once on fire for God and then "poof" it was like they disappeared. They stopped showing up for church, stopped responding to my text and just fell off the face of the earth (theoretically of course). But why??? What happened?

Well, sadly some of them stopped going because they didn't feel welcome and some stopped going because they went back to what they were doing before they met Jesus in the first place.

I'm gonna address both.

We can't control other people or what they do when they leave our doors (our doors=the church), but we can make an impact that would make them want to stay.

First, we have to stop looking at people from outside the church as lepers. We need to make sure they are welcomed with open arms when they come visit. Not judged. (Side note if you're looking for a good book to read check out Max Lucado's Just Like Jesus. There's a part that has the perception of a leper that will change your life).

Both Mark and Luke quoted Jesus when He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." I can't imagine someone walking into a Dr's office with a severe diagnosis and the Dr. looking at them like "why in the world did this person bother coming here for". Unfortunately, that's often what happens to people when they first come to a church. People who know them are instantly judging them on their past wondering how long they'll last; while people who don't know them just judge the way they look or are dressed.

Whether it was Abigail Van Buren, Timothy Keller, or Ann Landers who said it first, I don't know but all have been quoted saying, " The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints."

We're not perfect and we have to stop treating people poorly because they haven't been delivered from the places most of us once were (and some not that long ago....just saying).

My husband puts it like this...."God didn't deliver you from being the prodigal son so you could become the other brother." The other brother was jealous and judgmental of his fathers love for his brother (Luke 15). Let's love people and encourage those coming into the church. Help them find the resources they need to get planted, help them find the right church for them, help them find a place that offers discipleship and small groups for community. I don't care what any one says, accountability is needed for new believers. If we can't get them plugged in then they're going to turn back to where they feel comfortable, where they feel like they fit in.

This is my second point!

Say what you will but the soil in a person's heart matters. It defines whether someone becomes a backslider or not.

  • The Birds eat it up- People who don't understand the word when they come to church, need discipleship. They need a place they can ask questions and receive clear answers to what is being taught in the Bible. If they never understand the words coming out of a preachers mouth, then absolutely no good is being done. This is why I say, they need to find the right church. All churches are good for someone but not all churches are good for everyone. Find a pastor who explains things in a way that you understand, but also know when it's time to"level up." (There will come a time where you need more in depth teaching)

  • Rocky Soil- This always reminds me of the new believer who is on fire. They are so joyful to tell everyone about God and they are going to every church service or event they can find, but as soon as they face a trial they turn away from God. Maybe they were going to church to "fix" a relationship but that relationship ends anyways, so they think why bother. Or they went to church to find healing for someone in their family but that person remains sick, so they stop believing in God. This could happen to a more seasoned believer as well. Look at what's happening all over social media right now with Hillsong members or other Christian pastors or authors who are renouncing their faith. They don't build a foundation in God and His word but rather what they can get from God and when they go through the fire there's nothing standing afterwards. Discouraging times will come, but the foundation and soil that our faith is planted on will make the difference.

  • In the thorns-The thorns are the things we deal with daily that take us away from God. Maybe we have a job that calls us to work on Sunday. I mean we have to work right. But now we have no time with God, so we slowly pull away and are spending less and less time with God and begin to forget his promises and truths. Or maybe our kids are so involved with sports and extra curricular activities that by the time we get home our prayer time is rushed cause we're at the brink of exhaustion. Life happens, but if we are more focused on our worldly success and busy schedules, we miss the point...God

  • Good Soil- This is the person who has done the work to cultivate their soil. They spend time in God's word and with God in prayer. They believe that His word is truth even when they don't understand what's going on around them. When they are in the Battle of life and the enemy is throwing punches they've learned to take a punch. They've learned to put on God's armor and face their trials in faith believing that God will bring them out the other side and work all things for their good (Rom 8:28) even the worst things.

When I think of my friends or the people I know who have walked away from God, I remind myself that the word of God says that He is married to the backslider (Jer 3:14).

An image of climbing a muddy hillside comes to mind every time I hear this word. I can literally imagine myself climbing a hillside and slowly losing grip and sliding back down the hill. This is what's happening to our brothers and sisters, but God doesn't give up on them and neither should we.

He says:

"... I will forgive their wickedness , and I will never again remember their sins."Jeremiah 31:34b

"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them" Hosea 14:4

A few months ago Luis and I felt like God was telling us to open our home. We didn't know the direction He would take us in, but we knew that we needed to be obedient. Over the few years prior we'd had random fellowship nights here and there but nothing too consistent. And then a couple events happened that caused me to get in my feelings and feel a little "church hurt" leading me to recluse. I didn't want to open my home or myself, but God gave me a push. Not long after God had spoken that to us, we walked into church one day and found several of our brothers and sisters who had walked away from the church sitting in the back-row. After service that day we invited all of them to join us in our home to study the life of Jesus and for all of us to spend some time together cultivating our soil with the help of the Holy Spirit. Our mission which is the same as my blog's mission is to help people build a foundation in God's truth and to help people apply those truths to their lives.

It's kind of a joke now but one of our original members called our group the Back-row Backsliders Bible study and that's who we are.

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