Lots of people go to church when the urge strikes them. They give when they feel like it. They serve when it is convenient. They come to worship but never really worship. They are glad when the service is over. They are glad when they can resume their lives. They can miss church next week and it won't make any difference in their spiritual lives. Apathy is their lord; not Jesus.
Churches die with apathetic members. These members think they have all that they will ever need. They think they already have served all they need to serve. Their place in heaven is assured. Their relationship with the Lord is never more than an acquaintance. They cannot be depended upon.
Sure they will run to the church when someone they love gets sick. They espouse the value of prayer when they are in great need. They act as if they pray all the time. Their prayer life is really dismal but they think it is fine. They believe prayer is something you do when you have a desperate need.
Some of these people may tell their neighbors that they are active members of the church. Meanwhile, they talk about all their neighbors behind their backs. The neighbors don't want to go to their church. The neighbors assume that everyone there is just like them.
Apathetic members act as if they are great givers to the church. They see their gifts as significant but their actual giving is less than they spend each week when they go out to eat. Even their donations at "love offering" meals is less than the cost of the meal. They drop in their dollar and act like that is enough to pay for what they will take.
Apathetic members are a drain on the church. They are bad witnesses to the community. They receive services but never give any. They draw away those who working hard. They badmouth those inside the church.
It is amazing but apathetic members actually think that they are fine but everyone else is messed up. They believe they have everything they need but fail to realize they are the ones in the greatest need. They believe they have arrived and don't know they haven't even left on the journey.
Apathy will kill a church. It is like a disease that comes in gently with very few side effects but becomes life threatening. It is like cancer in that it starts without anyone knowing it exists but slowly eats away at life. Apathy begets apathy. Apathy exists in a comfortable place. Apathy is at its best in death. Dead people are very apathetic. A dead church is the same.
Revelation 3:15-18 (NIV)
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.