“Companies don’t fail to grow because of websites, locations, people, equipment, stock prices, or any other excuse that dying companies try to blame for their tough times or bad luck.
“Instead, companies fail to grow when they lose sight of their mission and purpose in the world. They begin to die when they forget about why they were started in the first place. They fail when they forget about their core values, and they collapse when they no longer stand for anything. In other words, they die when they forget what the picture on the front of the puzzle looks like.”
Now remove the word ‘companies’ and insert the word ‘churches’. I think it hits home.
Oh, churches think they have a purpose. “We exist to worship,” they say, which sadly often only means, “We want to keep open on Sunday mornings.”
Or their purpose is to get more people in so that the jobs can be filled, and the church can continue. But that isn’t the mission. It’s the self-preservation drive of a club.
What difference would it make if our churches rediscovered a more New Testament sense of purpose? That would include:
- ‘Declaring the wonders of God’ (Acts 2:11) – not just Sunday worship, but a lifestyle of worship, discipleship, and mission throughout the week
- Working for the kingdom of God in every way – seeking to bring people into the church community because they need Christ, not because the church needs bodies. Combine that witness in words with our witness by deeds through care, justice, healing, and so on – all done while being unashamed of Christ, yet unconditionally, not as bait and switch.
- Taking up our cross and following Jesus, rather than aping the aspirations of the culture around us.
Are we serious enough to do this, or are we just playing at being the Church of Jesus Christ?