Is This Blog For You?

If Ye Stand FastSomewhere in the Twilight Zone, there is a world of young adults, hovering somewhere between ministry training and a permanent place of service.

  • The high school graduate who just wants to be a faithful layperson, but keeps finding himself too swamped with work, friends, and PS3 to stay very motivated for the Lord’s work.
  • The girl who finished Bible college but didn’t manage to land either a husband or an employer, so she’s “serving in her home church and awaiting God’s will for her life”.
  • The 20-something preacher boy who wants to serve God 100%, but he’s wasting time on a low-wage job just to tide him over til a church hires him.

But the trouble with the Twilight Zone is that too many go missing.  Work starts to crowd out soulwinning.  Our circle of friends dwindles until all we’ve got left are unsaved coworkers.  We go to Wednesday night Bible study and hope that’ll balance out the mindless TV and internet surfing that replaced our schoolday hours of reading and study.  Within a couple of years, we still possess a form of godliness but we’ve become almost totally ineffective for God’s work.

In I Thessalonians 3, Paul confesses to the church what awful persecution he and his fellow-laborers are facing.  He adds an interesting note, though – “Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity… Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

Our action here in the Twilight Zone – knowledgeable, but inexperienced; faithful, but uncertain – is what keeps others going.  It’s what encourages the men in the trenches, the knowledge that they haven’t served God in vain, that there will be someone to stand in the gap when they’re gone.  If we falter, they falter.  If we stand fast, they can stand fast.

So to the Thessalonians – and to those of us in the Twilight Zone – I dedicate this blog.

  • Faithful
  • Not giving in to temptation
  • Still learning, but never plateauing
  • Love for the brethren
  • Love for everyone else
  • Unblameable
  • Holy
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8 thoughts on “Is This Blog For You?

  1. RE: Permanent place of service vis-a-vis IFB organizations:
    Rachel,

    I grew up very strong IFB. My junior high/high school days were spent at a church that was probably 75% Hyles and 25% Ruckman. I spent time in Longview, TX at Bob Gray’s college but did not graduate (family issues). I never wanted to be in ministry but my parents insisted on me going to Bible college. It was the thing you were expected to do.
    My wife was the same way. Her parents literally filled out the application for her, had her sign it, and send it in. She didn’t want to go but used the opportunity to learn to make it on her own.
    Now this is not to say that all Bible college students were forced, but many if not most go because that is what you do. From the parents’ perspective, sending your child off to Bible college is the thing to do spiritually. There is this idea that Bible college will strengthen the child’s spiritual walk. For me it was the beginning of the end.
    I’m afraid many teenagers have been pushed through the mill of giving their lives over to God and surrendering to ministry and going off to Bible college. Teenagers are very impressionable.
    I’m going to turn my focus a little bit now and talk about my brother-in-law, and get more to the point of why so many Bible college grads who want a permanent place of service can’t and probably won’t find one.
    His experience is that IFB churches these days simply can’t afford to hire him full-time, not because he asking for a huge salary, but because they can’t afford to hire anyone. Perhaps the closest he got to a ministry post was at a BJU-type church (of course he and I and probably you were raised that BJU and PCC and BBC were just so liberal, a view that is of no consequence to me anymore). Of course he wouldn’t take that.
    The point is that fundamentalism is in the midst of demographic decline, and KJVO IFBs are faring just as bad if not worse than other fundamentalist subgroups. I work with an KJVO IFB missionary that has to do 2 years of deputation for every 5 years on the field because KJVO IFBs have a hard time maintaining financial support. He’s spending over 25% of his ministry off the field because of this.
    KJVO IFBs haven’t really faced up to this crisis yet, but it’s already in full motion… Tennessee Temple is merging with Piedmont, Northland International got turned over to the SBC, BJU is cutting back. As fundamentalist organizations decline demographically there is an increasing alliance with rightward drifting evangelicals toward a new conservative evangelical nexus that looks more like Al Mohler and John Piper than Robert Schuller or even Billy Graham.
    Also, there’s no leadership in the movement. I mean, who have they got? Wilkerson? Chappell? Fugate? Trieber? Sexton? All solid second-string guys who can lead a church but not necessarily a movement.

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    1. DT, I appreciate your feedback. Since you’re a reader, it’s important that my purpose here is clear: the “movement” is of less importance than individual surrender. Many young people are trying to live a pseudo-sanctified life because they’re taught to obey the Bible, but because they lack personal sanctification in their private relationships with God, they end up disappointed and assume their mentors were somehow beating a dead horse. They leave the “movement” disenchanted because they’ve already left their first love. I’m not writing to them. Despite the goodly heritage they’ve been handed, they are almost completely ineffective for God. That sometimes makes the ministry a lonely place for the rest of us, but that’s OK.

      I am disappointed, sure, in the decline of some of the old fundamental institutions, but it doesn’t change my responsibility as a child of God. It’s unfortunate that churches can no longer hire full time staff, but it’s nothing more than a return to our first-century roots (Acts 18:1-4). I don’t require any further “movement leadership” than my own pastor – the very apostles, who had spent years at the side of Jesus Christ Himself, submitted to the leadership of James the pastor of their sending church at Jerusalem (Acts 15). It is God’s design, and that’s good enough for me.

      Historically, our belief system has never been popular, despite the occasional periods of revival. That’s OK. My responsibility to God does not change just because demographics do. I do not ask readers to “stand fast” in a movement or a lifestyle. I challenge them – and you – to “stand fast” in the same Word of God that forms the basis for the faith we say we uphold.

      Thanks again for stopping by. If you have any other questions, I’d be happy to have you shoot me a line at ifyestandfast@gmail.com .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Still learning, but never plateauing”. How easy it is for us to do this as Christians! That should be the goal of all Christians, to never plateau.

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  3. Hit it dead on for what is happening to our young adults and teens alike. It will also encourage me to stand fast and be prepared better. Even I Have slacked from time to time.

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