In the early twentieth century, there were many shipwrecks along the New England coast. Many people drowned along that rugged coastline when ships went aground and broke up. One of the local villages decided to help remedy the problem, so they formed a local life saving station. They got volunteers; they built a small shack and the volunteers were trained in life saving skills. Some of the volunteers had their skills tested when a ship wrecked on the sharp rocks of the dangerous point. The call went out; the volunteers did their work and many people who otherwise would have drowned and perished were saved.
I’ve recently reread Arnold Cook’s intriguing book, “Historical Drift”.
I suggest reading it for yourself, as it is absolutely packed with insight that causes one to think about change over time, especially in the context of the call that we have to proclaim the gift of God’s grace to a world in desperate need of rescue.
Here are some random thoughts.
Some people say well the way to attract people to your church is to lower the standard, to make it very warm and inviting, to keep the standards low and open the doors wide. History tells us something else. History tells us that those organizations that do best, particularly religious organizations are those that have higher and stricter standards. Christ, required his disciples to give up even their own lives to follow him – a pretty high standard. What more can you give? All of his disciples lost their lives to martyrdom except one. They paid the ultimate price.
“In Christian denominations nominality begins to emerge in the second generation and becomes endemic by the fourth generation. By this time, the nominal person will either have rejected all claims to membership or will have been reactivated and revitalized. The life span of an organization is between sixty and eighty years by which time it will have reached the point of no return unless intervention strategies are in place.”He lists these items which he found in his studies caused a loss of commitment and this historical drift among members of these various organizations, religious and secular, but primarily religious he goes through these points. I’ll share them with you.1. Inconsistent attendance2. Token giving, but not tithing3. No apparent desire for serious study of God’s word4. No interest in prayer5. No involvement in the outreach of the church6. No apparent interest in becoming Godly
“Search me, O God, and know my heart…”