But I like the way my church is now. We are a small group but we know and love each other in spite of our faults. We have meaningful worship and the pastor is nice. He comes to the hospital when folks are sick, he makes house calls, preaches a good biblical sermon and Bible class (when I can make it) and we seem to be getting along fine. Why ruin it with unnecessary changes?
Frankly the goal or purpose of the church isn't to be "getting along fine" or even the people "getting along fine" or merely providing worship services, Bible classes and member visitation - as important as those things truly are! Jesus wants and expects much more from His disciples!
Have we "settled" in the church today? Throughout the decades we have stressed memorizing the Bible and catechism, we have stressed Bible study and faithfulness in worship. We have stressed sound doctrine. Each of them very good and necessary things! Yet somehow we have a blind spot when it comes to taking what we have "learned" or "heard" and putting it to use in our daily lives. We sometimes have "settled" with a certain amount of unholiness of life. We have "settled" with accepting a blind spot in loving our neighbor and recognizing the other people for whom Jesus died. We are often oblivious to those who do not know Jesus with whom we can build relationships, serve and bear witness to the love of Jesus. There has been a disconnect and in some cases in denial that we are to be the disciples or followers of Jesus who are to make more disciples (by the power of the Spirit). Have we come to "settle" for a church that provides a nice service, has some nice things we do every year, are welcoming to the visitor, but "go and make disciples" isn't for me or my church and we don't do "church" that way?
This isn't as much mission drift as it is lowering the bar so as to keep us comfortable. In some cases we have settled for much less than what Jesus desires. To believe the Word of God is to obey it. To be hearers of the Word is to do what it says (James 1:22)! If we believe John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life," then we will also believe that God loves the whole world...and so should we! Word and deed, engaged in their lives, loving them in the name of Jesus to introduce them to Jesus who was given for them also.
In short, Jesus desires an externally focussed vision rather than a self serving one.
Is that what your church is doing? Is that the expectation of the pastor, the people, the congregation, the programs that flow out of the worship, Bible study, catechism classes and so on? If not, then what vision are you really casting? What are you really communicating as what is most important? Where do you need to make the adjustment, also by the power of the Holy Spirit?
1. What is your church doing? What do these things say about your purpose or vision? (List them all and write it down!)
2. What are you doing as pastor or lay leader? What do these things say is important or not important? (Check your calendar and your budget and name what it is you are prioritizing!)
3. How comfortable or uncomfortable are you in striving to follow Jesus?
4. Where will you and your church make the adjustments so that your purpose is raised to His purpose, your vision to His vision for you and your priorities, His priorities? When will you do it? How will you do it?