In every season of life and ministry there always seems to be a single question that floods my mind and consumes my thoughts.
These days that question revolves around the church and how a local church like the one I serve best fulfills God’s desire and command (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20, & Colossians 1:27).
The question simply stated is this: “How do we (a local church) share the Gospel and be Christ’s church in a culturally relevant way without compromising the truth?” Or stated in simpler terms: “How do we provide light for the darkness?” Those who think this is an easy question don’t get it.
What’s to get? The church is becoming less and less important to Christians and to those who are not Christians. Christians who claim membership in a local church don't seem to miss not being in worship (Hebrews 10:25). Those outside the church don’t seem to miss being in Christ and living as a part of Christ’s body – the church.
Many Christians who are connected in Church want the church to be what they like and have always known (the music, the furniture, the message, and the ministries). Those outside the church don’t connect with what many in the church have always known. It is irrelevant to them and they see church more as a social club of good people that they can’t connect with or understand.
I see this at times in my own church and we are considered a “contemporary” church. I see it in the general attitude of some, certainly and thankfully not all, but some of the people. In the last year I have not had a single person in the church come to me concerned about providing a ministry that will care for and communicate the Gospel to those outside the church. The staff and elders have facilitated ideas and the church has attempted to communicate and connect with the culture, but the people in the church have only brought ideas of ministries they want started for those already in Christ and His Body - the church.
This scares me for a number of reasons. I’ll mention two here. One, we (the local church) could focus resources on providing ministries for the already convinced. That would make them happy. With thousands living and dying without Christ many in the church would be happy. Two, those outside the church wouldn’t care if we provided ministries and resources for the already convinced. They wouldn’t complain or feel hurt in any way. They’ll just wander this world separated from God getting used to the emptiness day by day and never meet the eternal living Christ.
I don’t have the answer to the question. I wish I did.
I am praying and I covet your prayers and your consideration of the question.
Send thoughts, questions, or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.