by Bob Dasal
The world was horrified eighteen months ago (September 11, 2001) by the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Many said it was a wake-up call to Christians in America. Steve Loopstra, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Prayer Transformation Ministries, recently said, "Apparently it wasn't as much of a wake-up call as many had thought." A just-released CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found religion's influence in America is on the decrease. The number of Americans with this view has doubled in one year from 24% in December, 2001 to 51% in December, 2002.
According to a recent George Barna survey 95% of Americans have not been significantly affected by the events of 9/11. Statistics indicate little has changed in attendance, ministries, or programs of the average church. Many churches seem to be permeated with a lethargy that stifles joy and clouds their vision and desire to boldly share the gospel. We note that there are exceptions, but as a whole, the churches in America have not risen to the need and opportunity to impact their communities with the gospel of Christ.
During this period churches in America had a worldwide window of opportunity. The months following September 11, 2001 saw the civilized world opening its heart to the United States. The words "God bless America" were seen and spoken in many languages around the world. What an opportunity to boldly say and powerfully show the love of Christ! By now, however, time and world events have now brought us to the place where America is perceived by our friends and allies as arrogant and dominating.
Why did the Christian community miss the 9/11 wake-up call? "Christians are too tied up in their own agendas and programs," is what Loopstra believes. He challenges us "to ruthlessly examine our lives, our priorities, our prayer lives and our lifestyles." The warning signs are out. Will we heed them? Now is the time for us to wake up.
For Christians throughout our nation the call to prayer, ministry and evangelism is there. The Apostle Paul wrote: "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Rom.13:11,12 kjv}.