Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Terrible Epidemic


There is a terrible epidemic in our land, mainly in our churches. It seems to be very contagious, as it affects the majority of families that I know. It is taking sons away from their parents, daughters away from their mothers, and husbands away from their wives. It seems to have been around for centuries, but in the last 30 years taken off at alarming rates.
Parents have been carriers for as long as there has been life, but the maturation of the epidemic is recently been most evident. Good news is that there is a cure; the bad news is that there is an extreme shortage of it.
The epidemic can be found in homes, public places, public schools, churches, church schools, and even home schools. Like the Bubonic Plague of the early 1300’s, it is destroying millions of lives. It is estimated that the Black Death of the 1300’s killed 1/3rd of the population of Europe at that time. It was not until great men stopped ignoring the problem and found out where it was originating from, that the plague was stopped. It was found to have originated in the Gobi desert, a bacterial disease carried by fleas on rats. It also resurfaced as the great plague of London in 1665-1666, again carried by rodents and rats and the fleas they bore. In the early 1900’s it resurfaced in central Asia killing millions; and most recently was used as a weapon by the Japanese in 1940, as they dropped from planes canisters filled with infected fleas upon their enemies causing great outbreaks.
The epidemic I speak of is just as contagious, just as deadly, and has been evident at some times more than others through out history. It has been used as a weapon by the Devil for years, and today we suffer through it like no other time in history. What I speak of is the epidemic of losing our children to the world and ungodly influences.
I had the privilege of being reared in a God fearing home. Since my birth, I have only seen my parents love and serve the Lord. Both sets of my grandparents have loved and served the Lord all my life; meaning, I have been so blessed in having the heritage that the Lord has given me. I went to my first church service when I was 5 days old, and have always been an independent, fundamental, Baptist. Unfortunately, I have seen this epidemic show its ugly head repeatedly.
Men whom my father worked side by side with in the ministry have fallen. Friends of mine in my Christian schools while growing up, have turned astray. When I was a teenager, I was in a youth group in Dayton, Ohio that ran between 60-100 teens per Sunday. For years, we traveled to area wide youth meetings, teen camps, talent competitions; and came out of those champions, on fire for God, ready to charge the world with Heaven’s message. I graduated in 1993. Recently, I spoke at that same church’s youth activity where the youth director now is a man that was in the youth group with me. He told me that from our days in the youth group that ran approximately 75 per week for 7 years….there are 8 still in church. EIGHT! And two of them were sitting at that table. I say that not to glory the two of us, but to awaken us to the problem sweeping our homes and churches.
I went to college at Fairhaven Baptist College. It was then, and praise God still, one of the finest, standard holding, KJV Bible preaching colleges in America. I watched between the years of 1993-1997 men quit one after another. My freshman year, there were 34 fellow freshman boys majoring in Pastoral Theology. Three of us graduated. The epidemic was alive and well in Indiana as well as in Ohio.
I came back home and served from 1997-2004 as youth pastor, Jr. Church director, and principal of our private school. Sadly, the epidemic was gaining strength. I watched as we, a small school, graduated nearly 40 seniors the first 6 years of the school. Today less than half are still in good solid churches. When I became pastor in 2004, I stood scratching my head and asking the Lord “Why?”
It was then, through the leading of God, that instead of standing there continuing to watch the epidemic take its course upon family after family, I decided to find where it was originating, and to see what can be done to stop it.
The next few months, with the help of my friend and assistant pastor/youth pastor, Lee Carr, we will share our thoughts and what we have found as to what has brought about this plague upon our land. A little over a year ago, we sent out a questionnaire to independent Baptist churches all across the country for their teens to fill out and return. We will seek to share what we have learned with you as to attempt to help any and all we can. We welcome your thoughts concerning the topics we write upon. Should you find interest in having your family/church take the survey, we will email/mail you one at your request. Following the year, we will take these entries and your comments and finish our book concerning the topic.
Please pray with us as we enter upon this project, that the Lord would be magnified, families and churches strengthened, and special wisdom be given.
Please note the poll question, as it will be a question from the questionnaire, and what we will discuss the next week. I will be making my entries at the mid-week, and Pastor Carr will be making his entries on the weekends.
To God be the Glory!
~Pastor Travis Burke

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, that looking at your poll results, you surround yourself with some "church-going" people...says alot!

pastor mike said...

I'm excited to follow the project and see what you guys are learning.

If I can help in any way, I'd be happy to do so.

And Anonymous has a point. It seems a little snarky to put it that way, but the point remains.

Travis Burke said...

Thanks Mike, just pray and comment when you can. It really has been eye opening.
The poll is the first question on the questionaire that was sent out. It is no shock that on the blog everyone goes to church 3 or more times....but the questionaire wasn't sent to adults who would read an independent Baptist Blog site...it was sent to teens in our youth groups. Plus, I believe it will be no shock as to the results of the questionaire (and this poll is not added to the results)...thats the problem. Our teens...who go to church everytime the doors are open...they are walking away at 18 and 19. Why is that? That's what this is all about.
If you meant me surrounding myself with "church going people" as a compliment...thank you...shouldn't we all? And then us church going people should be out trying to reach the "not going to church people" and then we fulfill that great commission given to "us church going people."
Ok, that was a little "Snarky". Thanks Mike for teaching me that word...I love it.

the sister-Chrystal said...

well, I will "fess up" to being "anonymous" who only was anonymous bc I was in a great hurry...my comment was definitely meant as a compliment. It would do us all good to surround ourselves with "church-goers"!!! I guess, though, the next question would be "what kind of church"...Godly, sold out, kjv, independent, fundamental..etc. etc..that makes a HUGE difference I think. :) sorry to have sounded "snarky"..didn't mean it that way! :) (but I like that word too! )