Have you ever read a biography about Billy Sunday? I have thoroughly enjoyed a great book about Sunday's life. God used Sunday in incredible ways. The campaigns and revivals that America experienced in the 1st decade of the 20th Century were awesome.
The numbers were staggering.
Sunday was quite the preacher. Anything I could write would not give justice to Sunday's entire life. Every Christian needs to read at least one biography on Rev. William A. Sunday's life.
In the Philadelphia Campaign of 1915, 400 churches worked together to promote and participate in the city-wide tabernacle meetings. 400 churches working together—amazing—literally amazing and serves as a clear testimony to the unity Christ can create among born-again believers.
But this paragraph got my attention last night: Lee Thomas writes:
"Many times Billy would challenge the Christians with 'How can we expect the unsaved to come flocking into the kingdom over old, apathetic, critical church members?'"
What a challenge. What a statement. How can we expect the unsaved to come flocking to the house of God—a local church—when it is filled with apathetic, critical church members?
Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines apathetic as: Having no interest, concern, emotion or feelings.
Sunday was concerned that the church rolls were filled with people who were apathetic. Are you apathetic toward the things of God? Are you concerned about your church? Are you interested in the people in the church? Are you doing anything to welcome our newest members and make our guests feel welcome? Are you concerned about building the kingdom of God? If Berean never grew beyond its current size, would that bother you?
Then Sunday said that the church has "critical" members. Critical members are negative and seldom satisfied with anything. These are the members that have a reputation of bringing all the problems to a pastor's attention. If a decision is made, they will be opposed. Very infrequently will you hear an encouraging word from these member's mouths.
If some members are apathetic and other members are critical, this is a killer combination that will surely quench the Spirit's work in a church. This must be why Lee Thomas writes "many times Billy would challenge the Christians." Sunday had to challenge Christians in every city to change.
Sunday knew that no matter how great the revival was in any city, if the church did not change, these new converts would not stand a chance against the world. They needed to be welcomed into a church packed with Spirit-filled believers who were positive and concerned about the Kingdom of God through teaching and growing new believers grounded in the faith.
If Sunday were alive today, would he say the same thing? If Sunday came to Berean, would he be concerned that our rolls are filled with critical, apathetic members who call themselves Christians?