Consider the following pattern:
- Teenager: heavily involved in church youth group. On fire for Jesus!
- College age and early 20s person: drops out of church, grows cynical, apathetic.
- Late 20s: He/she realizes need for grounding, brings new spouse and toddler to church twice/month.
- Age 30: A dramatic fork in the road distinguishes in-group from out-group:
- The outs remain on the fringe of the church. They take what they can but give little. Nominalism sets in.
- The ins find warm fellowship, dive into the deep end, make a commitment to a local body of believers.
- 30s and 40s: The ins commit huge time to church work and wonder at those who opt out.
- 40s and 50s: The ins start to fade once again, feel burned out.
- 50s and 60s: The former ins sit on the sidelines, feel they’ve done their share, go to the cabin a lot, switch to being outs.
- 70s and beyond: The outs upgrade to more regular church attendance in order to encourage grandkids, but have little personal investment.
Of course, many Christians defy the above pattern and are faithful to the church their whole lives. This I applaud.
But for the fickle masses, church seems to be just this: optional. I suppose we can blame it on individualism, self-determination, maybe just laziness.
But we cannot blame it on the Bible.
We’re told in Ephesians 5 and other places that the church is the bride of Christ.
That means we Christians are married, spiritually speaking.
What does that mean for the outs?
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