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« Fighting Resignation | Main | The Bell »

Pew Sitters

pew-1.jpg They come. Some only on Sunday morning. Others on Sunday night. Fewer on Wednesday mid-week. They’re usually on time, but not early. They sit anywhere from two-thirds back to the back row. They look like they enjoy themselves. They’re friendly enough. They smile and shake hands with folks around them. Most of the time they bow their heads and close their eyes during prayer and appear very respectful. I’ve seen them nod their heads in agreement during sermons. Sometimes they clap their hands or even stand up during a particularly anointed time of worship. They almost always put something in the offering plate as it passes by. I have no idea how much. They leave soon after the congregation stands at the close of the message. Sometimes I won’t see them for a string of four to six weeks. They don’t call to say where they are. But, they usually come back. Real nice people.

Many of them used to sing in the choir. Some even played instruments in the orchestra. Quite a few taught a Sunday School class years ago. They have lots of great memories from the old youth group. Crazy times…good times. Youth choir, Bible quizzing, youth rallies, bus trips, youth camps, dramas…they remember it all. From what I can gather from talking to them, life just took a different turn. Their schedules spun out of control. They just didn’t have the time to stay involved and give themselves to the church like before. It’s not that they didn’t want to. Things just happened. Their jobs got too demanding, they had to go to school, they had families to raise, they had extra-curricular activities to do…it just got impossible to keep up the pace. The divorce really set them back. And that thing that someone said hurt them pretty deeply. Well, maybe they did change their views on several things just a little bit, but they still loved the Lord. No one will ever take that away from them. They do feel like they should try to come to church some, you know, it’s a good thing to do. And, oh yes, they believe the message one hundred percent. Absolutely. That will never change. No sir.

They do appreciate that the church doors are still open. They like to come and worship and hear good preaching and teaching. Just between us, there’s no better preaching and teaching anywhere…not even on TV! Hey! That choir is awesome! And they are really impressed with these new young people. They look good…and they are so talented! Somebody’s doing some right things around here! They like the projection system, sound system, new coat of paint in the sanctuary, new greeting set-up, nice web site, new vans with the church logo painted on them, new assistant pastor, new ministries that have been started up, new things the ladies are doing with prayer and classes, newly remodeled youth room, new program for unmarried adults, the academy, the day care and all the other good stuff we’re doing. They admire the faithful giving to missionaries year in and year out. They literally love the flea market and the bake sales. By the way, they are extremely grateful for the hospital visit and for taking care of Mom’s funeral. So many people commented on the good job the speaker did. And, please, don’t ever stop doing what you’re doing, being who you are and staying Apostolic. You know, this world is getting to be a crazy place. It’s nice to know that some things will never change.

I’ve always wanted to ask the pew sitters if they feel a little guilty about soaking up all the benefits of a thriving church without shouldering any of the responsibilities that make it that way. I’m sure they would say they do. Yes. Absolutely. But that doesn’t take away from their appreciation for everything. They love the Lord and they would like to do more. But, God understands. All of us have a unique and personal mission in life. Some of us are called to be pew sitters.

Sometimes I wonder if they’re right. We do need people in the pews. Other times, I think about how good it would be if they would get out of their pews and get involved. What if they pitched in and helped to do a lot of the things they now sit and look at? What would happen if they contributed their time, energy, finance and talent? What if they helped to put that coat of paint on in the sanctuary? Or drove a van? Or helped pray with someone at the altar? Or visited the prayer room before service and prayed until they spoke in tongues? Or taught a home Bible study? Or gave in the offering according to the blessing of God on their lives? Or sang in the choir? Just think. Would this be what we call a real revival? Could be.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.

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