Fighting Apathy in the Church

Two years ago, I wrote an article sharing my observation and opinion on Singaporeans’ general apathetic attitude towards politics.

My concern was how this general passivity and overly ‘trusting’ of our goverment leaders would pose as a threat that was awaiting to implode.

Today, it appears that the Church also suffers the same predicament.

Apathy in the church

“I believe they (pastoral leadership) know what they are doing”

“Things are not that bad and it won’t happen here”

These are common cursory responses that we too often hear from members within the ranks of a church in regards to their church’s leadership and governance.

I think we are in such a position because we believe or safely assume that the leadership in the church are people of high moral standards or even perfectly godly.

Perhaps some of us might be resigned to the fact that we cannot change anything as one person out of many. Thus, we accept the status quo since it is “not that bad” and stay out of engaging our leadership.

But who is to say that this happy situation will always be the case- when we know that these are also imperfect men like you and I that are operating in leadership?

Jesus was not apathetic

I believe God expects us as His followers to be actively involved and to take ownership of His Church since we are His sons and daughters.

We read in the gospel how this sense of ownership is displayed in Jesus when the holy temple became a ‘den of robbers’.  In Luke 19:45-47, it said that He drove those wrong practises out!

Though it was the main responsibility of the teachers of the law to uphold the holiness and governance in the temple, Jesus didn’t wait for them to do so as He saw the temple as His Father’s House.

Therefore, whether out of apathy, ignorance, indifference, resignation or complacency, I do not think Jesus wants us to blindly follow or to just “sit on the picket fence” and be apathetic.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

1 Peter 4:17

On the contrary, we should be deeply involved in not only supporting the leadership, but also actively engaging them when policies or decisions are made especially in terms of finances for the accountability of His Church.

In whatever positions of authority we may have in our church- no matter how little we think our authority is, we can contribute to the betterment of the church by highlighting possible errors or wrongs in policies or processes.


9 thoughts on “Fighting Apathy in the Church

  1. Hmm, I’ll totally agree on this one. However, I wonder if it is the pastors themselves who are causing such an apathy by preaching on accountability towards God? Perhaps its the culture within the church itself that’s causing such apathy.

    Wow you subscribe to Impact magazine?

  2. When it comes to questioning the pastor’s religious doctrine. it is totally biblical. Think about the Bereans, who questioned Paul’s teachings by looking about the Bible themslves.

  3. Terence:

    You said, “I wonder if it is the pastors themselves who are causing such an apathy by preaching on accountability towards God?”

    Is that wrong? Cos if we are preaching on accountability towards God, I think apathy shouldn’t exist cos we would be on our toes =P

    What can lead to apathy is an environment with too many “layers” or being in a system of rigidness. Or if we are overly emphasizing on submission to authority or leaders without empowering people.

    And I don’t subscribe to IMPACT, just happened to chance upon a copy 🙂

  4. Can elaborate further on your point about how “accountability towards God” without “accountability towards man” would be a problem in producing apathy?


  5. accountability towards god and his appointed leaders are a top-down model preached by many and proven to be effective thru the years.. have not the case of “Too many cooks spoil the broth” plagued many so-called democratic groups..

  6. Sorry for the lack of elaboration as I was typing in between classes 🙂

    Anyway, what I mean is that as much as it is right that pastors are accountable to God, they much also make it clear to their congregation that they are still imperfect people.

    Pastors also like to preach about trust and how God will eventually bring to justice those who abuse their positions. Therefore, it is implied that we shouldn’t question the pastors too much. “A place of agreement is a place of power.” Familiar phrase?

    Therefore, pastors, as much as possible, should be accountable to their flock, and be as transparent as possible.

    Of course, the other extreme will be a democratic church, which, unfortunately can often lead to lack of action.

  7. I dun believe in a democratic system but theocracy in the context of the Church. It is not a matter of effectiveness but being biblical and recognising that God and His word is the final authority.

    However, like Terence pointed out, accountability is not one way, but two way between leaders to members too.

    I guess this is determined by the depth of security and maturity in love a leader has in relating and involving members in the church.

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