Thursday, May 8

Three questions for any church

1. What is your church doing to deliberately make disciples?

2. What is your church doing to intentionally plant/reproduce new churches?

3. What is your church doing missions wise to be His witnesses in your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and ends of the earth?

While I realize there is more to being the Bride of Christ than the answer to these three questions, it is hard for me to conceive of a church calling herself a church that does not have a clear plan to make disciples of the nations. The heart of God is a missionary one that loved the world so much that He gave what was most precious to Him, Jesus, so that we might be called the 'children of God'.

While there is certainly room in the Church for more than evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and missions, if we allow these to become anything less that priority mandates, the inevitable result will be a turning inwards and the beginning of a decline resulting in eventual death of that body of believers.

My own observations about the decline occurring within the Southern Baptist Convention is directly related to the loss of this focus we have traditionally had as a denomination.

So how do we turn the decline around? For starters, try honestly answering the above three questions!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bro. Guy,

I believe many can "honestly" answer this questions in there minds and be truly sincere about it also in the following fashion:

1. We have Sunday School in our church, we have small groups that reach every faction of the church from the youth to the elderly and everything in between. We have women's conferences once or twice a year, our men have a yearly retreat and our youth always have their camps. Discipleship is covered in this church.

2 & 3 can be lumped together and easily by saying we give to the Cooperative Program a good percentage of our church monies. Through the IMB and NAMB they cover the state, country and to the ends of the world. They are the experts but we still have mission groups that go out 2 or 3 times a year and represent our church.

The mindset of the church will never change until the leadership of the church in convinced by God that He, without a doubt wants more participation from the church they are leading. When the leadership changes the congregation will change or they will change leadership. That is one reason many leaders are afraid to honestly consider these questions that you pose here for us.

We need to continue to pray for the leaders in the church and focus our efforts so that the change comes from the top.

Manuel Sosa

Deb Burton said...

I agree with Manuel to a degree, but the Bible doesn't call pastors to the Great Commission, it calls all of us to it. We as individuals have to purpose within ourselves to not only be the light of Jesus to others, but to take on Titus 2 responsibilities and disciple our younger brothers and sisters in how to reach others for Christ. We've become a society that leaves too much to someone else to do, instead of taking it on ourselves. When I stand before God's throne of judgment, I am accountable only for myself. I can't ride my pastor's coattails and blame my lack of missional work on his failure to lead.

GuyMuse said...

Manuel,

You write, When the leadership changes the congregation will change or they will change leadership.

I agree that leadership is probably the biggest obstacle we face in fulfilling the Great Commission. In the current training we are doing with more than 150 churches the barrier is not with the people, but with the leaders who see change as a threat to their ministry. Over and over the comment is made, "we love this and want to do it, but our leaders have different ideas." I can almost envision our next phase of ministry being to find an existing leader who is on the right track, even if it doesn't jive 100% with our own thinking, and then back them in hopes that others will want to jump on their success wagon. I don't know what the answers are, but we continue to keep on keeping on.

Deb,

Good point, Deb. You write, We've become a society that leaves too much to someone else to do, instead of taking it on ourselves. In our own region's vision statement, the third part declares, ...every believer an active participant in the Great Commission. The day every believer begins to think like you do, it will only take a few years to finish what Christ commanded 2000 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Deb,
I am 100% in agreement with you! What I was referring to was what Guy shares in the comment section. Many times people in the pew do not do these things because they have not been taught about it (by the leaders), have not been motivated or challenged to do it, (by the leaders), or simply know that that is not what their leaders believe or will back.

Yes, it is everyones job but the leaders have a huge responsibility in mobilizing their congregations by teaching, preaching and motivating the congregations to do it. The ultimate responsibility is an individual one but if not challenged or prepared correctly than many times the fault can be traced to leaders that just did not help foster this attitude on its people.

People don't need to wait to be told to do it but many times they will tire of doing it by themselves or of being the lone ranger. They also don't like to go against the majority in the a church that is not doing this nor do they want to go against their spiritual leader.

But if the leader IS one that not only preaches, teaches and does missions it will certainly have a contagious effect on the congregation.

Manuel

Deb Burton said...

Manuel,
I can relate to what you're saying. Because of our moving around we've been exposed to a variety of situations. Some were very frustrating for my husband and I because 1) some in the congregation were wanting to see more things being done but wanted the pastor or others to handle it for them, 2) the pastor wanted to see more things done but lacked appropriate leadership skills to change the status quo (older church that didn't want to see a lot of changes), or 3) a pastor who had the leadership skills but still couldn't seem to change the predominant mindset of the majority. Everywhere we've gone it's still the usual 20% doing 80% of the work. Right now we have a dynamic new pastor who is beginning to have an impact, but he is just starting. My husband and I have decided that regardless of what's going on around us, we're going to reach out to those around us who are hurting and need help and point them the best we can toward a relationship or stronger commitment to the Lord.

I pray for boldness, wisdom and vision among our leaders, and an increased hunger for lost souls among our brothers and sisters!