You see them every week at Church, attending their meetings, performing their callings, shuttling their children to this or that activity. They are active in the Church by every definition. But are they really ACTIVE in the Church? Are they ACTIVE in the gospel?
Activity in the Church is loosely defined as attending Sacrament meeting once every three months. After that you are considered “less active,” which was changed a number of years again from “inactive.” I guess “less” is better sounding than “in” which means not. Which is technically what those members who never attend are: “not active” It also takes into account those members who are partially active rather than fully active.
Anyway, a number of years ago, I lead a committee of Stake Council members to determine how we in the Stake could help Strengthen Families. We were seeing a trend of dropping Church attendance, temple going, and tithe paying among the members.
One of the conclusions we arrived at is there is a façade of activity among some members of the Church. That is, they appear to be active in the Church but are not fully committed. This manifests itself by:
- Lack of a current temple recommend
- Not full tithe payers
- No Family Home Evenings
- No Family Scripture Study or prayer
- Not doing home or visiting teaching
- No bearing of testimony
- Turning down callings
- Not attending all Sunday Meetings (sitting in the halls)
- No participation in classes
- No participation in service projects
- Little to no food storage
Now, before you start to complain about my list, I am not suggesting that any of these items individually constitute this façade, but a combination of items might be an indication of the level of real activity. On the other hand, I’ve learned from the Bloggernacle there are many partial or non-believers who still attend church for one reason or another, but mostly because of family. But perhaps they hold no temple recommend or do not attend, do not pay tithing and have no calling to speak of. This information was not available to us at that time we were studying this issue.
I’ve heard and read statistics that as little as 25% of all church members pay tithing and less than 15% have any food storage. I can’t prove these stats, but that is what I’ve heard. That would tend to back up my thesis.
We have a saying in my current word that is abbreviated by the initials “STP.” It stands for Same Ten People. I probably don’t have to explain that to most church members.
Since the overarching objective of the Church is to help people:
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. “( Moroni 10:32 – 33)
It seems that everything else is secondary to that.
So am I off base here or is it true? Is there a façade of activity among some Church members? And what, if anything, do we do about it?