Erin is the wife of Jordan Blair who preaches for the Gustine church of Christ in Gustine TX. Erin has always been busy in the work of the Lord's church helping coordinate Youth Rallies, Prom Alternative programs, helping Bible class and VBS teachers. She is currently completing her Paralegal Program from the University of San Antonio, Texas and will graduate in December.
Ever since I married my husband last August, I’ve been around more congregations in the past year than I have my whole life. As I attend worship with the saints in different towns and different buildings I notice a trend that is setting in, especially in the older generation. The men, I’ve noticed, tend to sit around and talk about what it was like back in the 50’s and 60’s when the church was booming and the women like to chat about “sister so-and-so” who did so much for the church way back when. I’m not saying that we can’t remember back to when times were more encouraging and exciting, but there are some changes that need to be made in this outlook in the church.
I've noticed, in my traveling with my husband to various lectureships, gospel meetings and just visiting family, that it seems like many congregations (or at least their members) tend to live in the past. It makes me ask, are these people clinging to the past and the “good ole days” like the Jews who traced their lineage back to Abraham? The Pharisee’s and many Jews were so proud of their heritage often crying “We are the sons of Abraham!” (Matthew 3:9) thinking that their blood alone meant that they had a “free ride” to heaven. We cannot forget what Paul wrote to the church at Galatia regarding this, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” – Galatians 3:7. It is not about our lineage or historic past so much as it is our faith and commitment today!
People like to talk about how their congregation has been around for 30+ years, and sometimes use such information to lure a preacher during a minister search. Also, they brag how the auditorium was so packed they had to get chairs and let’s not forget that they had Preacher So-and-So back in the day. What is so sad is that these people are so comfortable talking about what has happened in the past and the “good ole days” that they aren’t seeing what is happening around them today. This is a dangerous lack of vision (Proverbs 29:18). “But we are the sons of Abraham!” they cry.
As they sit and gloat about their “wonderful” preacher back in the 50’s or how historic their building is, many souls all around them are being lost. While they’re busy figuring out who’s going to mow the lawn this month and what they are going to do about the preacher’s wife’s new hair-do, their friends, neighbors, and family members spirituality is being neglected. They are not out there teaching others and bring others into the Body (Matthew 28:19). Furthermore, what is truly frightening is that they no longer have the knowledge they should because, well why do they need it if they be the sons of Abraham? After all, in their mind, that’s what they pay the preacher for. They suffer from this apathetic outlook and reminiscing of the way things were when they should be growing spiritually, adding to their knowledge and bringing souls to Christ (Hosea 4:6; 1 Peter 1:5-8).
This is a serious problem, because as long as people are sitting around and talking about how they had Preacher So-and-so back in the day and how great it was then, they lose sight of what is around them and how the church is suffering for it. It doesn’t matter so much what you did back in the early days of great church growth. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was wonderful how the church grew during the 50’s , but what are you doing about increasing attendance today? How long has it been since you have invited someone to hear the Gospel? Are you going out and reaching the lost, or are you sitting in your comfortable chair remembering “back in the good ole days of the church…”
Acts 5:42 “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”