Church Drop-outs: Why They Leave the Church, Part 3

Rick Mattson Church, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Last week I gave the example of Caleb, an archetypal teenager who falls in love with cars and the race track — not Jesus — and gradually drifts away from the faith.

Could this “leaver” have been kept in the fold somehow?

Yes, I think so.

No guarantees, of course, but I have a suggestion:

What if we brought God to the places where Caleb hangs out with his buddies: the garage and the speedway?

What if we moved God out of church and into the workplace?

Yes, I understand God is omnipresent and doesn’t need to be “brought” anywhere. But I’m talking about God being recognized inside the essential processes of repairing and rebuilding cars.

Now you may be thinking this idea reduces to a certain activity, such as this:

On occasion one of the gear-heads in the shop opens a Bible and everyone drops their wrenches for a short interlude of prayer and Scripture.

Not a bad idea but I’m thinking of something different.

I’m thinking of God actually meeting Caleb under the hood. 

I’m thinking of Caleb sensing the approval and affirmation of his heavenly Father when he restores order to a disordered machine in a broken world.

Track star Eric Liddell said, “God made me fast . . . When I run I feel his pleasure.”

Average-kid Caleb might similarly say, “God made me mechanical. When I work on cars I sense his approval.”

Call it a “productive” faith. It means that one of our jobs as image-bearers is to create as God creates, produce as he produces, work as he works, rest as he rests.

Maybe such an understanding of God would have kept Caleb coming to church, fusing together his faith and main hobby.

Unifying his life.

* * *

Next week I’ll talk about what author Andy Crouch says about the topic of productive faith in his two fine books:

  • Culture Making
  • Playing God
Your assignment, then: by next Monday, read both books . . . .   🙂

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