A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook talking about the “The Rise of the Dones” in the church. It was talking about the “life-long believer, well-studied in the Bible, [who] gives generously, and leads others passionately,” yet who dropped out of the church. They didn’t drop their faith, they just dropped church. This, though they were “among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations.”
There were a few reasons given for becoming a “Done,” and over the next blog (or two or three. I’m not sure at this point.), I’d like to address some of these things. Because to be quite honest, its troubling to me to hear people I care for say they’re feeling the same way. And since the timing of my Bible reading just so happens to match the topic, I might as well work out my own feelings on the matter.
Among the reasons given for leaving the church was thinking they had heard it all after hearing countless messages, and a tiring of being “lectured to.”
But in this passage in Acts, we see a model of how Christians should live and what the church should look like. I want to focus on the first thing today.
They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching. In other words, they had a passion for God’s Word. They desired to know it, and they desired to live it.
I suppose my first question for those that tire of being “lectured to” is how devoted are you to the Word? Do you really believe it is God’s Word? Do you believe it contains the very words of God? And do you have the same passion for the Word that the early Christians had? Or are His words to you just an outdated way of thinking that has little if any relevance to our lives here and now?
Now I can agree that there are pastors that can seem condescending to those they preach to. That act as if they’ve already “made it.” And if that’s so, then I can understand people’s feelings. But is that really the problem?
So the question that you need to ask yourself is, “When I read the Bible, do I feel lectured to when I read the things that I don’t like to hear?”
The problem with many Christians is they have their favorite passages, and only read those in their quiet times, while avoiding those that make them feel “lectured to.” And perhaps that’s why they feel that way at church. The pastor brings out passages they don’t want to hear.
But if we are truly Christians, we need to be devoted to the Word, whether it’s encouraging and comforting words we hear, or whether it’s words of challenge or rebuke.
As for the hearing of countless messages and thinking that you have heard it all, I suppose the same kind of question needs to be asked. “When I read the Bible, do I feel like I’m getting nothing from it? Have I heard it all? Or is God still speaking to me?”
I have to admit, there are (many) times I do feel like I’ve read and heard it all. That being said, I would say two things.
First, after 35 years of being a Christian, I’m still learning. And every once in a while, God will bring something to light, either in my reading or in a message that I’d never seen or heard before. And that’s exciting to me.
Second, for all the times that you’ve heard something, are you practicing it? Has it gone from your head to your heart? You’ve heard it’s important to forgive. Have you forgiven those who have hurt you the most? You’ve heard that you need to let go of anger and bitterness. Have you?
In short, is the Word of God living and active in your life, penetrating your heart, dividing between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, judging the thoughts and attitude of your heart? Or is it just going through one ear and out the other?
Like I said, I can’t speak to your experience or the experience of the “Dones.” If your pastor is speaking from his high horse, maybe you need to find another church.
But my question to you is this: is the problem really the sermons? Or is it your heart’s response to the Word of God?