Following Jesus can feel complicated. Finding an entry point into a life of faith is a challenge. This is especially the case if you didn’t grow up in a Christ-centered home or have spent years drifting away from God. Do you just show up at a random church? How does one shop for a church? Families of faith (i.e., churches) aren’t consumer products. Is church even necessary?
In Mark, Jesus cautioned to “beware of the scribes” because of their false religion (Mark 12.38). Today, countless scribe-type false prophets fill churches, yet religious leaders bemoan declining attendance. The Atlantic had two excellent articles about church struggles: “My Church Doesn’t Know What to Do Anymore” and “The Evangelical Church is Breaking Apart.”
Perhaps we are making faith more difficult than it is. Organized religion is a human creation. We need the church. God doesn’t need it. However, God likes churches, especially when they are genuine families of faith and provide life-giving opportunities to grow. Thus, various things can help us experience worry-free faith.
Trust that God is God and we’re not.
We don’t have to know all the answers. We are not responsible for the survival of our faith. We can put our trust in a God who has the power to overcome death. Nothing is impossible for God.
Acknowledge that some things will pass away.
New churches open and some churches close. Mar Sarkas, a church and monastery in Maaloula, Syria, has been in operation since before 325. Construction on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy, began in 326. So, some churches remain open for a very long time. Whether a church is old or new matters less than the transformation people experience inside.
Telling someone who struggles with faith to “pray more” might sound clichéd. Or, worse, it might sound like telling a thirsty person in a desert to “drink more water.” At the risk of sounding trite, taking the time to say, “God, help me with my unbelief,” is a step of faith. It acknowledges God’s eternal presence.
Don’t take on too much.
Physical exhaustion puts us on a fast track to faith struggles. Trying to be the savior doesn’t work. Jesus already took that role and did a fantastic job. We can participate in God’s work, though it remains God’s work, not ours.
Even though we all need to pace ourselves, God doesn’t call us to sit on the sidelines and hope things improve. We can be part of God’s solution. Whether this means joining a new small group, starting one, or getting involved in a volunteer project, we have the opportunity to join God’s work.
These five ideas can help someone’s faith grow. But they are just the start. This list is not conclusive. What other ways can we get to know God and renew your faith in an age of uncertainty?