Dropouts

November 5, 2016
by Joel Jongkind

Just recently, I was made aware of a few people that we know who have quit believing and no longer attend church. They were raised in Christian homes, went to church on a regular basis, and at some point were involved in church work and youth programs. Then, the seeds of doubt entered their minds, and gradually, they came to the conclusion that they no longer believed the words of the Bible. They actually question whether there is a heaven and a God in whom so many of us believe, and they have left the community of faith.

While I was thinking about this, I remembered that I had written a message about this many years ago. I went into my "Old Sermons" file box, and found it. It, too, was called "Dropouts", and I used it in September, 1991. In it, I quoted a then-recent newspaper article. The article mentioned that less than twenty-five percent of Canadians attended church on a regular basis. It also said that the shopping mall and the golf course had become more important than church. Since then, it seems that the problem has only grown worse. Recent figures show that only about ten percent of the people attend church on a regular basis.

Today, many people just don't believe, but in Bible times, some did not either. In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus gives a great sermon about Who He is and what He came to do, and He made some really hard-to-understand statements.

John 6:54-56 – Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (NKJV)

Many people who listened to Him just did not understand this or believe it, and then:

John 6:66 – From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (NKJV)

These were people who had literally followed Jesus and His teachings. These were people who had believed in Him for the things that He had said and done during His time on earth. And now, with one sermon, He had driven them away. Similarly, at the present time, there are so many who have left the faith, so many who claim that they don't need the fellowship of the Christian community anymore, so many who are happy with their lifestyle without God.

John 6:67-69 – Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (NKJV)

Let us pray that those who have left the faith might hear these words of truth and believe them.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are so many people who have wandered away from the truth of the Bible, so many who are happy with their lives as they are. We pray that You will give us the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to convince them that our faith is not in vain. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen!


    Thank you for this lovely message.


    Our statistics here in the states are disturbing as well Joel. Thanks for a good word.


    So true and so sad Joel, and I have no idea how we engage people again, now that two generations have fallen away. Thank you for your thoughts.


    Thank you, Joel, for today’s message. The numbers you quote are dishartening indeed, but Advent is coming when we once again place our hope in the name of Our Savior, the light of the world. We’ll keep praying. Keep encouraging us.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for your words this morning. We, who are following Jesus, are His example and should be careful in all that we say and do. “They will know us by our love,” is a phrase in a well-known song, that should come to the forefront to each Christian. I believe that it is you and I and others that have, over the years, done this (turned people off from attending church) and what we continue to do in the name of God.


    Hi Joel, yes, there is a large contingent of people who grew up in the faith and no longer believe. Church people don’t understand why they don’t go to church and blame hockey, Sunday opening, etc. but the real reason is that they find religion confusing. It’s too much to try and figure it out — so many religions and no religion. Talking to a young woman, she believes there is something but she wouldn’t call it “God”. She believes people have a spirit and there’s something after death but finished by saying:” but I don’t really think about it much.” We have to figure out where to go with that, because I think 80% of non-attenders fall in that category.


    Hi Joel, I can understand this sad truth in part when church members have no time to check up on the absentees. Often this is a gradual falling away, though not necessarily of one’s personal relationship with the Lord, simply a cessation of church attendance.
    I have had this experience so I know whereof I speak and the only thing that kept me going, even intermittently, was the command to ‘Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together to worship the Lord.’
    Maybe this will make a few people remember it is our responsibility to show we care.
    Thanks.


    Good morning! Just wanting to thank you and all the other writers for the messages that you write, it always amazes me how you can see God’s hand in the strangest things, helps me to stop and think about my life and to give thanks in all things! After chasing after the things of this world for years I returned to the church. As my faith has grown I have learned to be content, to be happy in him and not things. As I watch the people around me(world) running crazy 24/7 it made me think in your closing prayer that they are happy with their lives making me wonder maybe it’s the opposite? They have no time for church as they are too busy chasing the things to make them happy or so they think. Peace, joy and contentment come from the Lord (like I had to tell you that) not things. Thank you again for making me stretch my mind, seeing God’s handy work in all things! continued blessings.


    How do YOU suggest we bring them back to Church?


    Thank you, Joel, for another very fine devotional.
    May we steadfastly hold to these words of Peter:
    “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (NKJV)
    Let us pray for people who have left the faith, that they will miss Jesus Christ so much that they will come flooding back to Him.
    And may we be glowing witnesses for your name’s sake — this is my prayer.
    Amen.


    Dear Joel. I bought a small New Testament at a garage sale. It had notations and underlined verses in it. I asked the seller why he didn’t want it anymore. Just as you said, they moved on and found something else.
    When I use that small Testament I always, Always remember that man in prayer. Thanks for the reminder.


    Your devotional reveals a common trend in today’s Christendom. How sad it is for those who turn away.
    Yes worldliness can draw us away from Christ, which is just a trap of the devil.
    I some times wonder just how many, who crowd in to churches, really are devoted to the Lord and His purposes for their lives.
    There is much need for pray for our churches.
    Good devotional Joel.
    God bless.

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