Beyond Preaching and Praying

Aug 24, 2023

Churches have the potential to serve as more than platforms for preaching about sins and the gospel. They can be powerful conduits for pastors to engage with their communities, extending their outreach beyond the traditional teachings. This broader approach not only enriches the lives of congregants but also has the potential to attract new faces to the pews.

In countries with Christian roots, you might find numerous churches within a short drive. However, the reality is that most of them operate at around 40% capacity on Sundays, at best. Additionally, it’s often challenging to spot younger generations among the attendees, highlighting the need for churches to adapt and appeal to millennials.

While spiritual connection is undeniably essential, it’s not the only factor at play. The church can serve as a support system for people navigating life’s challenges. Rather than relying solely on biblical verses, the church could serve as a sanctuary for those grappling with their personal struggles, helping them evolve on their journey.

Transforming the narrative from constant reminders of sinfulness and hellfire to an environment of growth and empowerment could be transformative. Instead of viewing congregants as mere sinners, churches can help individuals identify their problems and grow spiritually. God’s intent is not for us to languish in misery but to thrive—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Churches have the unique opportunity to help individuals become strong, wise, and resilient—spiritual soldiers ready to face life’s trials. This means equipping congregants with practical tools to handle adversity, engage in debates, and stand up against injustice. Just as soldiers require training, Christians can benefit from guidance on navigating the challenges of life while upholding their faith.

The concept of “teaching a man to fish” comes to the forefront. Rather than merely providing spiritual guidance, the church can empower individuals to navigate life’s complexities independently. This approach fosters a sense of self-reliance and self-assuredness while promoting kindness and compassion.

Embracing diversity and new ideas can be a stumbling block for some churches. This reluctance to allow different viewpoints to flourish might hinder their potential for growth. By creating an environment that encourages open dialogue and diverse perspectives, churches can extend their reach and enrich their congregation’s experiences.

From the believers that I’ve encountered, there seems to be a misconception in prayer. Many have learned to pray to God for things, assuming that they don’t need to take any action themselves. However, the act of asking is not an excuse to be passive. God’s guidance is often to be sought while actively working towards our goals.

Instead of merely asking for future assistance, we can learn to pray in the present tense. For example: “God, I am becoming happier and healthier each day.” This shift aligns our intentions with the present moment and acknowledges our own responsibility in the process. Additionally, when we seek help from God, it’s essential to recognize that the assistance might come through the guidance of others.

In a similar vein, churches could extend their reach by providing teachings on raising one’s consciousness, fostering better health, and cultivating wisdom. These practical skills can enhance congregants’ lives and create a positive impact on their communities.

Lastly, the distinction between being good and acting good is profound. True goodness involves more than surface-level words; it requires action. Supporting someone in their struggles, offering a helping hand, and providing genuine assistance hold far more weight than empty praise. While kind words are uplifting, embodying goodness through our actions is what truly brings positive change.

In conclusion, churches possess the potential to play an even more transformative role in society. By embracing a multifaceted approach that extends beyond traditional teachings, they can serve as platforms for empowerment, growth, and community enrichment. Encouraging active participation, fostering resilience, and guiding individuals towards positive change can help fulfill the church’s mission in today’s complex world.

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Milad Emjay

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