Question:

I have been a member for a little while now and I have fallen short as many others. But my question is: Why is it that we, as members of the churches of Christ, always talk about what will get you saved but not keep you saved?

I have problems with sex outside of marriage, drinking, and have used drugs. But you never hear a sermon from the pulpit until one of the members has a kid on the way or someone has become infected.  This is and has become a problem to me.  Also at my church we never have true young adult classes that are dealing with the issues which I have stated before. We have topical studies about how to evangelize; yeah, that is important, but I also feel it is important for the young adults, male and female, to sit in the same room and tell each other where we fall short. I have ask many members why is this not the case and they say well there are some things that should be said at certain times. I want to respond, "Are you serious? We watch sex on TV and hear about it all the time, but you're telling me as a 20 year old we can't have an adult conversation?" 

This really makes me want to leave the church because they are so weak. Or is it me who is weak and needs to deal with these issues some other way? Please help me with this because I have grown spiritually at other churches (denominational and institutional) that deal with these and have allowed me to grow spiritually. I am really thinking of leaving and going to one of those so that I can keep from stumbling in my sins.  Thanks in advance.  


Answer:

Having been a Christian for many decades in quite a number of congregations, as well as visiting a great number, I can say from personal experience that your observation is not true of all congregations. You probably have noticed the moral issues that I address here in La Vista from what gets posted on the web site. I also have been invited to speak on moral issues, most often on sexual issues, to brethren around the world. I run into other preachers regularly who speak on moral issues -- Bubba Gardner and David Banning come quickly to mind.

There is an easy way to increase awareness of issues in a congregation. Often we think that "someone else" has to organize meetings or classes, forgetting that you can have input as well. I once taught a class at a camp out on the first two chapters of the Song of Solomon. A 16-year old young man who was there wanted to hear the rest of it, so he went to congregation he attended and ask if they could have me come and do a series for them. Since he had the strong interest, they asked him to make the arrangements -- and he did. First, and so far only, time I had a teenager ask me to come and hold a meeting in an area, and I was more than happy to do so.

You can also hold classes in your home. We've done this on several occasions here when the topic was thought to be too "specialized" for the congregation as a whole. We also used these times to invite friends and neighbors to come who might come for a topic but not come to a church building. I've also seen occasions when a special meeting turned out to be so popular that a rented facility was used to hold everyone who wanted to come.

What I'm saying is that instead of seeing this as a problem that someone needs to solve, see this as an opportunity for you to have parts of the gospel message taught that have been neglected in your area. And by the way, it never hurts to ask someone to come whom you know has studied the issues you are interested in. You will be surprised how many preachers are quite willing to come teach as long as someone will give them a place to sleep and some food to eat while they are there. I think that if you made some arrangements, tentatively contacted a preacher, and then proposed to the elders an idea for having a special series, they would be thrilled to lend support to the idea.

Also consider putting together a class on a topic. Get the material, think about how it could be taught, who would be interested in teaching the class, who would be the likely audience, and then propose the class to the elders for an upcoming quarter. Instead of a grip about what isn't being done, you are giving a possible solution regarding what could be done. You'll find the overall response to such very positive.

By no means was I saying that every church of Christ is like that, just the one that I am attending.  Sorry about that; maybe I stated it wrong. Well, clearly I did. 

Yes I have noticed and love the fact that you face the issues upfront and personal.  This is why I love visiting your site daily for devotionals.  To tell you the truth, it is sometimes my first stop after prayer and it never fails that I always find some solution. Is there any site that I could go to, to hear you preach and also hear Bubba Gardner and David Banning?  If so please let me know because I really like to hear preachers who step on my toes and cause me to straighten up and fly right. 

And you're right about me thinking that “someone else” has to organize it. I need to take responsibility because it is my problem.  Also this might be what God desires to use me in. I feel totally like Moses now making every excuse as to why I am not good enough when clearly I am. I just need to step outside my comfort zone.  Thanks for helping me to see this.  Could you send me the lesson you taught on Song of Solomon and the first two chapters? I feel it will be a good reading for me.  I wouldn’t mind having you come out, so let me work on talking to my elders and see what they think would be best.  Something tells me they will just have our preacher talk more on the topic, which is good, but I really don’t feel he is as direct as you would be.  But I will surely try. 

Yeah, talking to some folks that are against it or don’t feel comfortable about it in a Sunday school class told me to have a class at my home, so you’re not the first to tell me to take the bold stance. I am going to try my best to start this so again, thank you.  My prayer is that it could grow so that we would have to rent a facility because clearly it is a problem that we all suffer with because of the lust of the eyes. 

Thanks so much for being very direct and branding me to get of my lazy butt and make things happen when I am just as capable as the next. 

David Banning preaches at the Dowlen Road Church of Christ in Texas, which posts videos of the sermons given there. Bubba Gardner can be heard at West Palm Beach Church of Christ's web site. They also have a podcast site. My lessons can be found on the sermon page. Search for titles ending with an "[Audio]" tag.

The Song of Solomon study can be found in the Workbook and Studies section.