At High School there was a boy well known for having come from a dysfunctional home. One day his parents joined a church, and the affect was immediate and obvious. Rubbish was removed from their yard, the lawn was mowed, and the house cleaned. Also, and most notably, the boy lost his aggressive stance and literally pulled up his socks. Life at that point took a turn for the better.
Jesus pointed to the outcasts of society as those most likely to be saved. He knew that they saw sin for what it really was, unlike the religious leaders who were blind to their hypocrisy.
It has often been said that churches begin in caves and end in cathedrals.
When churches move into the middle classes, they easily forget their humble roots. Children of parents who left behind dysfunctional lives have little interest in reaching back into those old neighbourhoods. Having inherited the blessings of church, they often look to “even better things” for their children.
Church movements do not die in cathedrals. They die when members care more about establishing a place for themselves than providing a place for the lost.
Converts, particularly those bringing the struggles of dysfunction, require much time, resources, and patience. Conversely, those coming to us with means and talents, tend to be self-sufficient and appear very stable. It is little wonder that over time evangelism trends toward the latter, and away from the former.
James understood the temptation to neglect those in their need and join those in their greed.
“Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? (James 2:5-6).