Justin Bieber’s Take On the Church
This article in the Christian Post about Justin Bieber and low church attendance rates couldn’t have been a coincidence.
My wife and I just watched “Never Say Never“, the Justin Bieber documentary. Even though I rolled my eyes when I saw what she chose to watch on Netflix, I’m glad I joined her. Prior to watching the documentary, to put it mildly, I had a very low view of Mr. Bieber. The last thing we need is another boy idol. However, after watching the documentary, I am a fan. Justin Bieber is extremely talented and a professional. I am a Belieber.
Justin Bieber is also a Christian.
When asked about religion during an interview with V magazine, Justin said,
“A lot of people who are religious, I think they get lost,” explained the 17-year-old singer. “They go to church just to go to church. I’m not trying to disrespect them, but for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him”. He added, “I don’t have to go to church”
His sentiment is common, which in part, explains the church attendance trends in America.
Why aren’t people showing up?
The Church needs to answer this question.
Faith isn’t a solo affair. The Bible provides few, if any models, of living out faith in isolation. There are of course a few prophets like Jonah and Ezekiel who went out alone on God’s command, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Even in the early days of the church, when few had heard the Good News, Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs. They could have covered more ground if they all split up, but that wasn’t God’s plan. Given the lack of biblical support for go-it-alone-faith, how did this idea become so popular?
To Bieber’s credit, going to church for the sake of going to church isn’t a good thing. But the trouble is, this kind of thinking is like a little yeast. It manages to leaven the entire loaf…
God does his best work in community.
I called this blog “Heart Your Church”, because I love the Church. Like many believers I have my fair share of gripes and issues with the institutionalization of religion, but at the end of the day, I have made the decision to live out my faith in community. The reason? God has consistently moved in and through people to change my life. Without a faith community, I would be disconnected from the source of so much good. Only through a community of believers can I get the spiritual nourishment, encouragement, and guidance I need to live life as it was meant to be lived. I’m grateful for my church community and want everyone to experience the blessing of a life changing church.
Many Millenials of course disagree with me. We’ve all probably read the stats from Unchristian and You Lost Me. More and more people are walking away from the Church to chart their own spiritual course. Behind each person who walks away from the church is a story of hurt and estrangement. Many churches and church leaders have tried to address the core problem with considerable creativity and sincerity. Getting people to come back to church though is going to require more than new window dressing and cultural relevancy. It is going to require heart.
It’s going to take each of us who show up on Sunday Morning.
We are plan A.
We need to be courageous. We need to know why we believe, why we attend, and why we choose to serve. Our life needs to reflect our love of God, our love for one another and our love for the church. People need to see good sheep and the blessing of being connected to the community of God. Justin Bieber doesn’t see it or feel it. A lot of people don’t. The Church can’t tell our story. Only we can. Social media has given us all the tools we need to share our story and meaningfully connect with people who have decided to go it alone.
To return to why people aren’t showing up, I don’t believe there is a general, systemic reason. It’s highly personal. That means for those of us who remain faithful and believe in the value of the Church, it’s our responsibility. We’ve got to rise to the challenge to win the hearts and minds of people who have left the church and be a living testimony to the value and blessing of the Church today.
Credit to @toddrhoades for bringing this article to my attention.