When you run a church congregation, you will encounter a wide range of people who have a variety of feelings about church, the bible, and their religion. Some will be devoted congregants and firm believers whose faith never waivers. Others will be new to the religion and learning, but excited about developing their spirituality and relationship with God. Finally, undoubtedly, there will be some doubters in the Church, who are feeling unsure about their faith and cynical in the bible, not sure whether they believe in their religion or not.
If you deal with congregants who are feeling cynical, there is no reason to feel frustrated or disappointed with them. Instead, use their feelings as an opportunity to learn more about their doubts and your own religion, and how the Bible itself can help provide some guidance for anyone who is experiencing cynicism. If you are not sure where to start with someone who is feeling cynical in the Bible the following may help. These steps can help you address the doubts that people are feeling, get to the root of their questioning, and help encourage them to see different ways for them to come back closer to their faith.
Discuss the Moment of the Loss of Faith
Talk to someone who is feeling cynical about when their faith started to waived. Usually, there is an inciting event or series of events that has led to a person feeling cynical in the Bible. If you can get at the root of a person's cynicism, you can better understand how to address it. Usually, cynicism is caused by a feeling of alienation, of being hurt, or of unresolved about something. Try to target the reason that a person's cynicism began, and you will have a clearer idea about how to get them back on the path to faith.
One good way to help people feeling cynical in the Bible is to help them connect with a community of people who are not cynical. Hold events, religious study groups, and programming and encourage the person feeling cynical to come. When they feel welcomed and like they are a part of this community, they may be more open to hearing the ideas of the community. Also, because cynicism is often sparked by feeling alienated from your church community, it is possible that by being welcomed into a new group, they will feel less alone and in turn, less pessimistic about the benefits of faith.
One way to help a cynic come back to Christianity is to show them that it's okay to feel flexible and open about beliefs, instead of fixed rigidly in a set of beliefs or non-believing. It is okay for people to question religion and to be loose about opinions and understanding. By giving a person feeling cynical in the Bible a middle ground to come back to: questioning, rather than one side or the other (believing vs. doubting), you give them a safer, less intimidating place for them to return to.
Focus on Service
One of the most important aspects of the Bible is not the religious laws or lessons in it, but instead the message that it is important to serve and help other people. Hone in on this very concrete aspect of the Bible, which is hard to argue with for anyone who has a kind heart. If the person feeling cynical in the Bible has trouble with the parts of the Book that require blind faith, instead, focus on the parts of the BIble that talk about tangible ways to serve other people. Go through stories about generosity that exist in both the new and old testament. Then encourage them to take on some of that service themselves. Or, alternatively, hold a service project with congregants so they can follow the Word of God and serve the community together. When you get a cynic to see the good that service can do and to feel the feeling you get when you help other people, you can help them more likely buy into the rest of the messages in the Bible, that surround the words about generosity and giving.
Share Your Own Doubts
Be vulnerable when you are talking with someone who is cynical in the Bible, and express times when you have felt doubts or questioning, as well. All peope of Faith have had time where they have wondered or questioned some of their own beliefs. If you are a person of faith, it is powerful to tell someone your story of feeling doubtful or unsure, and then coming back to a place of believing. You can create common ground with someone who is feling cynical in the Bible, then display your route back to believing. This can help inspire them to see that there is a path to being a believer again, and that it is completely normal for them to feel doubts about their religion.
Bible Verses for People Feeling Cynical in the Bible
One of the best resources to turn to to help someone who is feeling cynical in the Bible is the Bible itself. There are many verses and passages in the Bible itself that can help people have more faith in it and in the word of God. Here are some helpful Bible verses that you can share with people who are cynical in the Bible, that may help them return to their Faith.
- And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. – Matthew 17:20
- I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:14
- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Phillippians 4:8
- I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. -Romans 11:1-36
- We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus – Romans 15:1-7
- And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. -Matthew 21:21
- To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. – Psalm 22:1-31
- Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. Hebrews 6:1-3
- Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32
- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
- A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. -Proverbs 17:22
- Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:8-10
- Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. – Phillippians 4:8
Help Encourage Excitement About the Church with NewFire Giving
When your congregation is feeling excited about encouraged about your church, they are more enthusiastic about donating to help the church grow and thrive. When you help congregants learn to be more excited about their faith, you can also help them feel more excited about giving to their congregation as well. One great tool that can help you learn how to foster enthusiasm and generosity in your is NewFire Giving.
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If you want to learn more about how you can use NewFire Giving to get your congregants more enthusiastic and excited about your church, reach out to us today. We'd love to talk to you about how to help your community grow and flourish.