All the emphasis on establishing new converts is great, but what about seasoned saints? I’m seeing more and more backslide.
Sometimes identifying the cause of a problem can be half the solution. Pastors have long observed several distinct steps when a person begins to backslide. If we are to strengthen the faltering Christian, we need to be aware of these steps and warn them before they go too far! The following steps do not necessarily happen in this exact order, but all individuals tend to experience them in their journey out the “back door.”
Loss of consistent prayer life. This is by far the greatest danger to any Christian. When we stop praying, we begin drifting.
Loss of spiritual joy. The first outward sign of spiritual problems comes when the joy of living for God begins to fade. The ‘joy of the Lord is our strength.’ When lost, we grow discouraged and listless.
Lack of heartfelt worship. When our joy leaves, our worship is soon affected. Instead of spontaneous and natural, we have to force ourselves to worship.
Drop of ministry involvement. The slipping Christian soon drops out of involvement: choir, teaching Sunday School, ushering, prayer meetings, or any other church activities. This is why we must stay active. God needs instruments, not ornaments.
Becomes critical. Everything seems to upset the backsliding Christian. The music is too loud, the preaching is too long, etc.
Begins to miss church services. They look for any excuse to miss. Church becomes boring, Christian friendships begin to wain. They must “force” themselves to go to church, and will leave as soon as it’s over.
Becomes indifferent to the Word of God and the Pastor. This is the most dangerous place of all. It’s only a matter of time before they are completely gone. Warn them before it’s too late!
(from IBC Perspectives – Volume 2 – Issue 3 – page 6)