“For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
— 2 Kings 19:31
When God wants his people to survive, it happens. It always has.
When I reflect on 40-plus years of walking with Jesus, I have great respect for the churches where I have served and for the people that God has put in my path.
However, many today do not seem to feel the kind of joy I have experienced in my own walk with God. Many wring their hands and even panic about how Churches of Christ in the U.S. are not growing.
In The Word | Wyane Atkinson
I will not speak of which “flavor” of Churches of Christ are better than others.
I will not bring forward the saint, nor will I name the apostate as a “proof” of the church’s effectiveness or lack thereof.
I will, instead, point us to the notion that God wants his people to be successful in accomplishing his will.
And his remnant survives.
If the church is to grow, then it will not be because of practicing right doctrine or pursuing social justice.
It will not be because we do or do not have women leaders.
It will not be because we do or do not use musical instruments.
Our scholarship will not qualify us. Nor will pursuing trends of popular church culture give us real success.
All of these things are, no doubt, worthy of our attention and conversation, but they are not concerns that ultimately will help the church to grow.
We will grow in real numbers only when those of us who represent God truly become conduits of his message of truth and life. We must project much more than the “niceness” of God.
We must avoid making “the church” the central theme of our message. We must surround people in our world with those who not only love God but who also are willing to live out that love — outwardly, boldly.
I was brought to Christ by people who loved me and became conduits of Christ’s love. They cared enough to talk to me, to embrace me, to mentor me and to challenge me. I can’t remember anyone being mean, judgmental, abrasive or condescending. I can only remember that I was given great news in such a form that I wanted it for myself.
I owe my soul to Jesus and to those who cared for me with such love and concern.
We become woeful people when we dwell on our lack of numerical growth — when we focus on the storms of controversy we allow to surround us. Just at the water-walking Peter in Matthew 14, we begin to sink.
Honestly, is it so hard for us to see what the real problem is?
We have taken our eyes off Christ.
Wyane Atkinson was baptized as a teenager in Cooper, Texas. He has served in vocational ministry, working with teens, and served for 11 years as senior minister for the Northwest Church of Christ in Glendale, Ariz. He currently is outreach/connection minister for the Conroe Church of Christ in Texas.