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.
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?