The title of this post comes from the title of Ravi Zacharias' book Has Christianity Failed You? I began to re-read it this morning as part of my devotional time. Many are leaving Christianity and the church because in some way either the faith or the church failed them. That failure may be due to Christianity not being what they thought it was or it may be because they began to have intellectual problems with its teachings. It could also be because the church failed them in some way.
Many years ago when I was serving as a deacon the pastor and I visited a single mother in an assisted living apartment complex. Her young daughter had made a profession of faith at our VBS, and we wanted to follow up with the mother regarding baptism for her daughter. While the mother was pleased at her daughter's decision to become a Christian and was willing for her to be baptized, she did not want her daughter to become a member of our church.
A few years earlier she had been very active in another church in our community. Her husband left her and filed for divorce. She said the Sunday after the divorce was public she went to church and felt she had walked into a freezer. Few people would speak to her. Everyone avoided her like she was a leper. After a few weeks of this treatment she never went back to church again. When she needed the church it turned its back on her. Her story is not an unusual one.
While working on my DMin degree I coached a number of pastors for my thesis. When I asked one pastor what ministry dream she had she replied she would like to minister to people who had been hurt by the church. She was serving in a small church at the time, and I responded that if she began such a ministry she would not have a small church for long.
Sometimes people feel God has let them down. Perhaps they prayed and God did not answer their prayer. Many of us create a God in our image, and when we find that he does not fit that image we walk away disappointed. Others begin to struggle with the Christian faith when they began to ask questions that no one seems willing to answer. This causes them to suspect that Christianity is intellectually dishonest.
There are a host of reasons people may feel that Christianity has failed them. How could your church minister to these people to help bring them back to the faith and church?