“Therefore, go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.”
The church is not about its members.
OK, un- bristle the hair on the back of your neck and hear me out.
It has been said that the church is the only organization in the world that is about its non-members. What that means is that the mission of the church must always be about the people we are TRYING to reach and serve. Those who do not know or have not come to Christ yet.
Over time, however, many churches stop caring about who they are TRYING to reach and start thinking more about themselves. Their focus moves from REACHING new people to PLEASING the people who are already there. There’s a name for this spiritual church disease: “insideritis.”
I was fortunate enough to be the pastor of a start-up church. And when you have only six people, your focus (out of simple survival) is reaching new folks. Your inherent purpose is to fulfill the Great Commission because that’s the only way you will survive.
But a few years later, when you’ve filled the pews with people and members, the danger is to shift your focus from the people you’re trying to REACH to the people you’re trying to KEEP. And when your passion and mission as a church changes from reaching people to pleasing people, that’s a recipe for disaster because in your attempt to please everyone, you please no one.
One thing that happens when you adopt this mindset is that you become complacent, and you realize it every time someone tries to push the boundaries and . . . here comes that ugly word . . . change. Churches like the status quo, to lock into what is and always has been. But then some preacher shows up with one goal in mind: Chaos. Disruption.
Covid has taken the church off autopilot and that’s a good thing because the status quo is a sure sign of stagnation. When the people of the church have settled deep enough into a nice pattern of “sameness”, if you listen close enough you can hear the death rattle.
We’ll pick up here Monday . . .
“Father keep us ever open and willing to change and help us to keep our eyes on the prize: to win souls to the Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.