Arrows of Truth: Hunters Tips: A weekly series to help believers engage with loved ones, friends and neighbors who are dropout believers to restore them to the church - the Body of Christ.
Arrows of Truth # 2 – Why does a believer become a dropout?
A believer has all the opportunities that life provides through circumstances, people and the devil to generate reasons for him/her to disconnect themselves from the body of Christ.
Some of these include offenses (real and imagined), pride (churches have hypocrites), life events in which they blame God and false beliefs (just me and Jesus). There are lots of "reasons" when you ask the question of a dropout. All of these issues, if not dealt with properly spiritually, will lead to strongholds in the mind of the believer and likely precipitate a breakaway from the church community. A stronghold is simply a false belief system that dictates the resultant actions/lifestyle of a person. Strongholds must be addressed spiritually through prayer, love and truth.
Sometimes dropout believers get that way because they experienced a real or perceived hurt associated with a church, pastor or person. Rather than forgiving and going on, they hold anger and resentment and the spirit of bitterness and unforgiveness comes in. Perhaps jealousy and envy of another person, group or church enters the picture. In any event, they drop out and become isolated from the Body of Christ -- the local church. Simply maintaining casual fellowship with some believers does not constitute integration with the body and submission to it.
Why should we be personally concerned about dropout believers? After all, if they want to be dropouts, let them, right? No impact on me and mine...
We will avoid the standard biblical responses here although they are certainly true and valid.
There are three practical reasons why every active Christian and church leader needs to be directly concerned:
1. Dropout believers for the most part buy into the secular culture of today. We all know the direct results of this culture: broken homes, divorce, spousal child abuse, abortion, lawlessness (and the proliferation of laws to try to curb man's lawlessness), violence, suicide, homelessness and many other ills. This directly affects you personally (oh and your pocketbook).
2. Dropout believers shortchange themselves and their families because they are not there to receive the support, help and encouragement they need in times of trouble. And many times, they make bad decisions that will sometimes directly affect you.
3. Dropout believers shortchange the church – the Body of Christ – because they are not there with their gifts. The church and those in it suffer physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially because they and their gifts are absent! It's a hard statement but true: the height of selfishness or self-centeredness is a Christian who refuses to commit him/herself to their fellow believers (with all their warts.)
Consider two or three people in your sphere of influence who are dropout believers. Begin to pray and ask God to reveal to you the "why" behind the dropout. You may discern it through prayer, a casual conversation or even their behavior. Then you can begin to pray for the root issue to be dealt with.
For more depth on this read the Hunters of the Harvest book: Chapter 2. To order the ministry book go to www.huntersoftheharvest.org and click Order.
Louis Posthauer is the founder of Hunters of the Harvest, a ministry focused on equipping the local church to reach and restore dropout believers. Louis consults with pastors and church leaders wishing to tap his expertise to mobilize their congregation with a biblical strategy to reach the dropout believer. He has been actively involved in the local church for 38 years and currently serves as a lay leader and teacher at Living Word Church of the Nazarene in Houston. For more information see www.huntersoftheharvest.org/to-pastors .