Our generation has grown more and more cynical to religious ceremonies and Sunday services. People are craving a daily experience with God. Multitudes have left the four walls of the local church, temple or synagogue in pursuit of something more relevant to their everyday lives. Our generation is starving for the supernatural presence of God, but they are instead filling themselves with mystical or paranormal counterfeits. Look at the entertainment industry: movies, games, and books about witchcraft, sorcery, wizards, and kingdoms of power pervade our homes.
Jesus faced this same challenge in His day, which is why He so boldly disrupted the religious system. He taught His disciples to step outside of the Sunday morning "come and hear" model, which seemed to have become corrupt, broken and ineffective in displaying God's power on earth. Instead, He gave his followers a bolder "go and tell" mandate that would move them into the marketplace, backed by signs and wonders to confirm His Word.
Today, less than 20 percent of Americans attend a local church assembly on a regular basis. Those who do go to church only spend one hour a week there on average. In many European countries, the percentages are even lower. According to Barna Research and the American Culture and Faith Institute, only 1 in 10 Americans has a biblical worldview, and just 4 percent of Millennials believe the Bible is relevant for today. Some studies predict that by the year 2050, regular church attendance will drop to 11.7 percent.
We have a generation that listens more to fake media, bolstered ads and corporate hype than to God. Of the 3.5 billion Google searches that occur every day, the top 100 don't even include a single search for God, religion, faith or anything biblical. When a nation no longer searches for God, you better believe God will send out laborers to search for His people. That is what a good shepherd does. When even one sheep goes astray, a good shepherd will leave the 99 other sheep to pursue the one. We must stop waiting for the sheep to graze into the local church. Now is the time to go and find those who are lost.
That is why we can't expect our only reach to them to be our "come and hear" church services once a week. It is up to us to "go and tell" them about the good news in the halls of companies, schools, sporting events and at social venues they frequent every day.
Jesus came to serve as an example of how to get out of our institutional comfort zones and penetrate the hearts and lives of people in the marketplace. He chose His sales team of disciples, not from the hierarchy of the synagogue, but from the ordinary migrants of the marketplace because they could speak the language of the people and could empathize and relate to their greatest needs. He reached hurting hearts right where they were. Jesus was a heretic who ate with tax collectors, sat with sinners and made it a point to mentor ordinary business leaders into becoming the cornerstone of His entire global network.
Staci Wallace has spent three decades as a marketplace executive, entrepreneur and ordained minister. She is the founder and CEO of EMwomen (Empowering Women), a nonprofit organization focused on educating, equipping and empowering women to unleash their full potential as the hands and feet of Jesus in the marketplace. She is a keynote speaker, author of six books, serial entrepreneur and has shared the stage with some of today's most notable world leaders. Learn more at staciwallace.com.
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