Where To?

It is the Sunday before Mother’s Day. I tell my wife that we ought to go out to eat, since next week we will probably go out to eat with my mother. Her first choice is to go out to Ryan’s in Lafayette. Ryan’s, I think, Mmmmm. Let’s go. By the time we are on our way to Lafayette, Ryan’s gets downgraded to Long John Silvers. Ok, fish, not as many options, but still ok. By the time we get there, instead of dining inside the restaurant (because it’s too busy), we go through the drive through and end up eating at home anyway. What I had imagined as an elegant dining experience out became a rushed lunch at home.

Like our ill-fated lunch journey, many churches end up exactly where they started, only more frustrated than when they set out. One of the biggest problems that churches run into when they hire a new minister or make any drastic change is that they don’t know where they are going. When the minister has exhausted himself trying be a one-man operation, the church fires him because he “just doesn’t understand the way things are done around here.” We want to fulfill what the Lord had commanded us, to go out and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching the apostles’ doctrine and empowering them in Christ, but, how do we do it in a way that is culturally relevant? How do we attract these people to the gospel? How do we get there from here?

What the New Testament teaches is “every-member” ministry. (Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-14) All of us are empowered to become ambassadors and witnesses. Evangelism is the function of the entire church, and so must be a part of everything we do. .

Any large church has hundreds of ministries to many different kinds of people. As a small church, we don’t have that luxury. We must be willing to do a few things well rather than trying to do a lot of things poorly. What things do we do well as a church? I would suggest that we find out and use those outlets as a springboard for bigger and better things, when our numbers justify the change.

First, does your church know how to eat? I’ve been in many churches that serve good food. Why not use this ability for evangelism? What about making meals the center of home-based Bible Studies and Small groups. What we put to God’s use, God will not neglect.

Secondly, is your church a giving church. What about helping in local projects, like building a shelter for the school kids in the morning, or letting them come into the building for hot chocolate. What about some after-school tutoring and programming. God will use what we can give to further His kingdom.

Thirdly, maybe you are the only church in town. Many in in a community consider the only church to be their church who have never been in a Sunday Service. Why not capitalize on that and use it to your advantage? Your facility is your number one physical asset. Why don’t we use it to bring people inside?

Many of you have ideas that you would like to see your church work on. It’s time to step up to the plate and get involved. Get involved in Youth Ministry, or Missions, or Worship, or even Benevolence. What great things can God do with a church that is listening to Him? Think about it. Think about where you want to go with your church. Draw the “map” and plot the course for your church. Then act to accomplish the goals you’ve agreed upon. Let’s make your church’s community a “city that cannot be hid”!

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merittmusings

I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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