Engaging views and analysis from outside contributors on the issues affecting society and faith today.

CP VOICES do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Churches breaking new ground: Filled with broken families, lives


The other day I read an article that opened with these words: “Churches must work to restore healthy marriages and fatherhood to combat a growing decline in Christianity, according to a survey released by a faith-based group.” The article went on to detail how the decline in resident fatherhood and the collapse of marriage are likely explanations for the increase in religious non-affiliation throughout the United States.

While this is certainly bad news, it also reflects some good news: “Overall, the survey found that 80% of church attendees grew up in a home where their mother and father stayed married, a trend that remained true regardless of age.” Although this number is in decline, it is still much higher than the national average and shows the impact the power of the Gospel of Jesus has on the family. The point of the article was to encourage churches to take the strengthening of marriage and family more seriously because it has a profound effect on the next generation. It was a good reminder and challenge.

But as I read it, I felt an ache in my soul for a very different reason: Christianity has become more about being generational than the breaking of new ground. While the national average for kids having parents who stay married is only one in two, in the church it's four in five. The insiders stay insiders, while the outsiders remain far from the healing power of God, generation after generation.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

The first churches were made up exclusively of those born and bred in the shadow of the Old Testament Law: Jews. This created a common culture of values that kept the community pure and the survey results looking good. But then the Gospel began moving out to those who had a long history of pagan practice and dirty laundry: the Gentiles. The survey results took a beating.

Yet the heart of God from the beginning has been for broken people with broken backgrounds to experience the power of His redemption and restoration. While the leaders of Jesus’ day pressured Him to stay within the limits of His Jewish culture, He kept pushing the edges to engage those outside the circle: “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).

In Paul's first letter to the church in Thessalonica, he reminded them they had “turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God …” (I Thessalonians 1:9). When he took the Gospel to the city of Ephesus, many who engaged in sorcery and pagan worship left their ways to follow Jesus (Acts 19: 19, 23-27). The survey question, “How many of you came from families that practiced sorcery and idolatry?” Would have had embarrassing results. Yet Heaven was smiling as new ground was being broken.

But the city of Corinth tops them all: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the Kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:9-11). That must have been quite a congregation! New ground was being broken.

God's intent for the Church has always been that it be a place where lost people get found and the broken get put back together — a place filled with “weres” who are learning to build new lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s time for surveys to tell us that churches are breaking new ground and being filled with those from broken families, broken relationships, and broken lives. But they should also tell us churches are doing all they can to break the downward cycle of family dysfunction and restore health to marriage and fatherhood. Only then can people step into the life God has for them, and only then can they be part of God's heart for breaking new ground through the power of the Gospel.

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes …” (Romans 1:16).

Ron Tewson is the President of the Therefore Project. He is also an author, husband, and father of five.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More In Opinion