Thursday, January 21, 2010

Penetrating the Darkness

Earlier this week I attended a strategy planning meeting in Atlanta. The meeting was with various leaders from the denomination which I am a part. We were discussing ways to penetrate the spiritual darkness that pervades our land. At that meeting we heard the latest statistic, which is that 258,000,000 people in America do not have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

That huge number represents individual people who do not have the hope, joy, peace, comfort and strength that faith in Christ brings. From a theological perspective, we must penetrate this spiritual darkness and help these people discover faith so that they can experience eternal life. From a practical perspective, numerous studies have shown that people who have an active faith are happier people and more responsible members of the community. This means that from both a theological and practical perspective, if we want our nation to continue to be great, we must think of ways to engage that large portion of the population in a meaningful discussion of who Christ is and what part He plays in their lives.

The good news is that recent research shows that 70% of those people would be interested in having such a spiritual discussion if it were with a friend or relative who was living out their own faith in an authentic way. The two challenges that we Christians face are making sure we are living our faith in an authentic way and that we are courageous enough to share that faith with those who are close to us. They need the message we have to share. They are willing to listen. Are we willing to share?


  1. Terry,

    Appreciate the challenge to share. Perhaps the challenge should also include, “willingness to live out our faith in an authentic way.” A superficial faith will not produce an authentic testimony.

    Keep on writing. I am enjoying what you have to share.



  2. I have to agree with Allen. I have met a lot of folks who dismiss Christianity because they have not seen any if very few actually living authentic faith. Now I know that can be subjective depending on one's view, but if we are honest, there has been a lot of un-Christlike behavior from the church at large that we need somehow to turn around.

  3. If it is a question of authentic "Faith" then we as Christians need to remind our self what Epesians 5:1 says. " Therefore be imitators of God as dear Children." To be authentic it means we do the right thing, no matter what the cost is. Paul in the letter to the Epesians brings it out. We need to be Like Christ. People today are no different then during the time of Christ's ministry here on earth. People want to know if we "Care".

  4. Thanks for the encouragement Terry. In the last couple years, more of my close relatives and friends have had a heart change and accepted my input about Christ, agreeable because I finally got it myself. It is true that when people see Christ in us, they want a piece of Him too. Keeping up with the Jones'. "The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him"
    2 Chron. 16:9

  5. Thanks for sending your thoughts to me, Terry. I appreciate them.

  6. Continuing in the vein of thought that Allen and Burlington started:
    I went to a NA meeting the other day that blew my mind. They offered love, support, and an intensity that churches do not rival. Also consider:

    The Mormon Church is the number one most giving religion in America. Nobody ministers to the poor and homeless as much as they do.

    Jehovah Witnesses focus on evangelism more than any religion in the world. As Christians, we believe that everyone else will spend an eternity in torment, burning in hell, yet it is the Jehovah Witness that spends his spiritual life taking his message door to door.

    Jewish children grow up learning Hebrew so they can read the Torah in its original translation. How many Christians can read Hebrew and Greek?

    Islamic followers strap bombs to themselves literally dedicating their lives to their faith. How many of us Christians would give up are jobs, money, or cars? Forget that… how many of us are willing to give up a full hour a night to read our Bibles and pray?

    At this point in America’s Christian walk, I think the church needs to experience a revival before the rest of the country can. Too many are apathetic about their faith. Who could blame people for not wanting anything to do with Christianity. People who do not know Christ have to live with a constant feeling of emptiness and want something different. The church does not show them DIFFERENT, the church shows them people that are also in the world, that claim to be different. Society has infiltrated and changed us so slowly that many of us do not know what we stand for. Condemning sin is a thing of the past… for old preachers like Spurgeon. Sorry to write so much. I have been blogging about this topic a lot lately as it has been heavy on my heart.

  7. How did the church get in such a state? From the tone of the comments above, perhaps we must penetrate the darkness INSIDE the church so that we can be more effective in penetrating the darkness OUTSIDE the church. Let us pray that each of us can be a point of light in penetrating darkness where ever it may be found.

  8. Amen dr dorsett. Christian leadership today is based off of personality more than character. I will pray for you that God continues to give you the combination of conscience and courage like He gave to His OT prophets. Please pray for me too if you get the chance. I am twenty-three yrs old... an age that satan almost has a monopoly on. (in my city at least)

  9. Vermont eh. Where about? I worked at Camp Spofford for a long time- its a Christian summer camp in New Hampshire a little past the Vermont border

  10. Our country needs a revival. Our churches need revival. Most Christians need revival. But when we are where we should be in our walk with the Lord, the people around us can see it in us. Then we will have a desire to share our faith and then people will be willing to listen. So... we need to pray... pray for forgiveness for not serving our Lord as we should... pray to see people as the Lord sees them... pray that everything we think, say and do will bring glory to the name of our God. God wants to use us to bring people to Him. We need to be ready and willing, and we need to be obedient.

  11. Looking for practical ways to put some of the principles in this blog post into action? Purchase my book, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church. The first part of the book explains why bivocational ministry is biblical, normal and missional. The second part of the book explains how to mobilize the laity to do high level ministry in a team setting with the pastor so that the church can be effective in reaching its community for Christ.
    The book is published by Crossbooks and you can buy the book directly from them at:

    The book is also available on, Barnes and and a many other online bookstores.
    If you live in Central Vermont, you can purchase a copy at the Faith Community Church in Barre, VT.