Why Church isn’t enough
If you feel your church hasn’t equipped you to face life head-on, full of confident faith, you’re not alone.
Missiologist Paul Hiebert wrote that many failures of the Church could be traced to its inability to help people deal with the issues of the “middle level:” the space between science (bottom level), which explains the natural world, and religion (top level), which explains more transcendent issues.
Middle-level issues are those everyday questions about an uncertain future, present crises, and the unknowns of the past.
Like when you’re facing a court battle over custody.
Or a family member gets a diagnosis.
When your child is bullied at school.
Or you lose your job, your security, and your income.
But that’s also where you need your faith the most.
Our Past Informs Our Present
This exclusion of the middle level began in the 17th century when science began to distance itself from religion, and the Church reacted by focusing on the top level.
In ignoring the middle level, the Church failed to explain the active role that faith can play in dealing with life’s daily challenges.
The Church became ineffective because most people want to see how God is relevant in their everyday lives before they will listen to the promise of eternal life.
That ineffectiveness continues today.
People yearn for answers yet look for them outside the church.
Because the church hasn’t met them “in the middle.”
But where do we start? How do we actually forgive those people and groups who have hurt us?
Meet the “Middle”
St. Patrick took on the seemingly impossible mission of evangelizing Ireland, a country full of what people thought were unreachable Barbarians, in the 5th century.
Whereas Western Christianity has focused on “issues,” St. Patrick (and Celtic Christianity) planted communities of faith that:
“Addressed life as a whole and may have addressed the middle level as specifically, comprehensively, and powerfully as any Christian movement ever has. A folk Christianity of, by, and for the people developed. It helped common people live and cope as Christians day by day in the face of poverty, enemies, evil forces, nature’s uncertainties, and frequent threats from many quarters.” (George Hunter)
For example, through St. Patrick, people learned to pray over the course of an entire day – not a one-time event – relying on God to meet them right in the middle of their circumstances.
The results of St. Patrick’s approach and the planting of these communities were incredible.
Ireland transformed from a primarily non-Christian nation into a predominantly Christian one within two to three generations.
Ready to meet your faith in the middle?
Like St. Patrick, you can deal with middle-level issues, experience a meaningful Christian faith in your everyday life, and address fears, worries, hurts, losses, failures, and questions.
Start your journey to the middle by trying the Draw Near app for free!
It will help you see Christianity as true, relevant, and essential for overcoming life’s challenging issues with God’s help.
Check out the Draw Near app. It takes practices from the Bible, each one connecting us with God, so that our burdens can become God’s burdens. Each practice includes a set of simple, straightforward steps, as well as entertaining and inspiring stories to illustrate someone using the practice. In addition, the app offers numerous sessions guided by mentors, each deeply grounded and experienced in using the practices.