Over the last few years I’ve come to believe that we have two key elements that need to be changed, but more fundamentally, we keep talking about the church too much differently than we talk about individuals. As individuals, we need to be following Jesus, not just appropriating the label “Christian.” As a church, we need to be following Jesus. Those who are following Jesus will be witnesses. A church following Jesus is a witness.
What do I see as the two key elements?
- Lack of Bible study and reflection. I see this broadly, as in study that leads us closer to God.
- We do not lead lives of prayer. This differs from praying occasionally, or offering pre-written prayers in a church service.
I think that if we were to correct these two elements, others would correct themselves. I need to correct them as well. There are those who commend me on my biblical knowledge and who consider me a man of prayer. (Others, not so much!) But the fact is that I don’t live up to the standards I believe in. While we are, indeed, all imperfect, we can all keep heading in the right direction.
I also think these two elements are much more closely connected than is generally realized. Prayer should be communication, conversation, not a monologue directed at God. Bible study should include the discipline of listening and a constant process of opening one’s self up to what God has for one in scripture.