“How long have you been a Christian?” I ask this question to every visitor when I meet them in the greeting room. Some say, “I just started going to church for the first time in my life,” and others say, “This is the first time since I was a child.” Answers like these make me smile because these are the kinds of people we’re seeking. But some answer, “I’ve been a Christian since birth.” And then I can’t help but get frosty toward those people. This puzzles them, because in most churches people who have been Christians for a long time are welcomed more eagerly than non-believers.
The reason I give the cold shoulder to long-time Christians, especially those who have believed since birth, is because I want them to go to smaller churches to serve. But there is another, less charitable reason. And that is, I want to protect our church members from so called Christians-since-birth. Many Christians-since-birth from Korea are spiritually immature. In fact, most of them are spiritual babies who stopped growing one or two years after their spiritual birth or did not grow at all. New Christians don’t know this and emulate them. And the majority of our church members are new Christians. Also, long-time Christians tend to have strong ideas about how the church should be run. They tend to be uncooperative and critical of the house church. They can plant seeds of discontent among new believers.
Being a Christian from birth is not all bad. If they are filled with a passion for Christ and the Gospel, they can become truly trustworthy servants of the Lord. Pastors who were born in non-Christian families often have many struggles in their ministries, but pastors who come from 2nd or 3rd generation Christian families are as stable as a rock.
Most our children have been Christians since birth, which concerns me a bit. As parents, we should not seek to merely impart Bible knowledge to them, but help them learn service and obedience so that when they grow up they will become model Christians and be welcome in any church.
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