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Spare Change - August

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Is Covid Making It Too Easy to Drop Out of Church?

Usually, pastors can always tell when the church attendance will be down.  It happens when the weather is bad...or really good, when there is a holiday, in the summer, or when something big in the community is going on.  Do you sense a little bit of a trend?  It doesn't take much for people to find a reason to miss church.  This is especially true during this global pandemic.  A recent Barna research study says that 32% of Christians have essentially dropped out of church during this time.  They no longer attend church or watch their church online.  This is a shocking revelation! One third of regular church attenders are not participating in church at all.

Participating in church is essential for believers.  God created the church to bring glory to His name through worship, discipleship, and evangelism.  Church is the place where we take time to prioritize the things of God.  By not engaging during this time many Christians are putting their spiritual health in great danger.  We need to re-engage in church!

I understand what is going on in our world.  I know there is a pandemic going on; however, the church has made unprecedented strides in creating access to spiritual teaching, preaching, worship, and discipleship through online avenues.  There is no excuse for not taking advantage of what our church is making available.  I know there are many that are in high risk categories that cannot attend in person.  If that is you, you should stay home for your health and safety, but that doesn’t mean you should disengage from church.  Even now, our deacons are making home deliveries of sermon DVDs and CDs for those that don’t have internet access.  We are doing all we can to engage with our church body and if there is something else we need to be doing please let us know!

If you are not in a high risk category and you can safely be out in public then you should come to church.  We, like many churches, have figured out appropriate safety measures and have embraced the recommendations put forth by our government officials.  We encourage masks when social distancing is not an option.  We have gallons of hand sanitizer throughout the building.  We are spraying down the chairs with disinfecting solution after each service.  We encourage people not to shake hands or hug.  These are just a few of the safety measures we have implemented.

All this to say that you don’t really have an excuse as to why you are not attending church, or at the very least participating online.  Of course, like we have always said, we understand that you can’t attend when you have to work, have an illness, or when you go on vacation.  Those are valid reasons, but on the whole, you should be at church most every Sunday.

You need church not only for your own spiritual health, but your child’s as well.  LifeWay research found that each drop in regular attendance has a corresponding 1.25% drop in a child’s overall spiritual health as an adult.  This may not seem like much but if a child experiences 4 or 5 drops in attendance it can add up.  Church is important for the spiritual health of your children.  That doesn’t mean they will be spiritually mature as they grow up, simply because they attend church, but it will help to give them a gospel foundation for life.

Also, making church a priority in your family tells your children that the things of God are important!  Think about all the things you spend time and money doing.  Are the things of God less important than those?  Of course not!  But for some reason church is the first thing to go when we get busy, tired, or just plain lazy.

This is assuredly a temporary crisis that we are facing, don’t let it permanently keep you out of church!  Make sure to engage with your church.  Come in person, if you can, and please serve!  We need people to serve as volunteers like never before.   There are so many people that want to serve but are in a high risk category.  We need younger people to step up and serve in the nursery, drive the church van, help at the food pantry, etc.  If you can’t come in person then please go online and keep up with all our content that we are putting out.  You will surely be blessed.
 
●     For more on this topic listen to episode 9 of the Families for Life Podcast at www.oakhillbc.org/f4l
●     Find the Barna Research study here https://www.barna.com/research/new-sunday-morning-part2/
●     The LifeWay Research study is found in Settle for Nothing Less by Jana Magruder on page 105

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Spare Change - July

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What is the “Families for Life” Podcast?

Pastor Brian Van Doren and I have started a podcast for our church.  It is primarily focused on parents, but it is beneficial for all believers.  There also may be other episodes, from time to time, that address the wider church body.  I hope you have had a chance to check it out.  You can find it at www.oakhillbc.org/F4L or wherever you listen to podcasts (Apple, Google, Spotify, etc.).

It has been a dream of mine for a while now to start a podcast.  I love the podcast format and have been a fan of it for some time.  I was a fan of talk radio, both political and sports, I still enjoy listening to some of these shows, like the Dan Patrick Show, for instance; however, the long format radio show is not good for focusing on one subject.  There are podcasts that are more like documentaries and some are treated like a radio show, but in most cases, they can focus more in depth on one topic.  The podcast format also allows for you to get your show out to a wider audience.  We are seeing people from all over the country, and even someone from the UK, listening to our show!

We started this podcast because both Pastor Brian and I have a desire to help equip parents.  We both were looking for an avenue to give biblical teaching and encouragement to families in the church.  Also, we are parents and we want to continue to grow in our parenting.  Another thing that helped was that during the quarantine we had more time, because many of our activities were cancelled; however, even after the quarantine is over, we want to continue this because we have found it to be very helpful to parents.  There are several people that have told us how much it has encouraged them.  For the foreseeable future we will continue to produce episodes.

We have begun the podcast using a book from Lifeway called Settle for Nothing Less.  Lifeway Kids’ department partnered with Lifeway Research to poll a bunch of parents on their adult children’s spiritual health.  They want to know what were the positive and negative influencers in their lives.  Meaning, what helped or hurt them in keeping a hold of their faith as they grew up.  This is an important topic because many Christian parents, me included, worry about their children in this way.  What the research returned was ultimately not surprising.  There are several factors that contributed to kids holding onto their faith into adulthood; you may be wondering what they are...well, you will have to tune into the “Families for Life” podcast to find out!

Ultimately, we just want to encourage your family to walk closer to Jesus!  If there is anything that either of us can do to help your family, please let us know.  Also, if there are any subjects you want us to touch on in future episodes please email me at   I hope you will check out the podcast!  As we say at the end of each episode, “We’ll see you next time!

 

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