Ralph is currently overseas ministering in Ukraine. He returns on March 3rd. These daily blogs were written before he left due to his inability to access the internet while away. They are being posted by his personal assistant each day – and he will personally answer all of your responses and entries upon his return to Canada. Enjoy – and if led to please remember to pray for Ralph and his team as they minister three times a day while overseas.
I was on my way to our Sunday morning worship service. On my way (a five minute drive from where I live) I pass two church buildings. Both have signs on their property. On one was the typical bits of information – times of services, name of pastor, and church phone number. On the other there was an announcement that read: “Join us today for a pleasant afternoon concert” – this afternoon at 2:30 p.m.).
My reaction surprised me. I immediately thought – why are we holding “pleasant afternoon concerts” when people are not hearing the Gospel and don’t know what it is that Jesus did for them and what it is that He now offers them as a result of His death on the Cross of Calvary. I mean I didn’t know the Church was in the business of offering “pleasant afternoon concerts” for the community.
I then reconsidered and thought that I should repent. My thoughts went like this: Well maybe, just maybe, they are offering “a pleasant afternoon concert” to attract people to the building who would not normally come to a Sunday morning worship service. Then they can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. But would that not be a little deceptive? Bring them in for one thing and then spring another agenda on them?
Then I began to wonder what the community in general thinks about ‘the Church’ … if it actually does think about the Church, I mean. In my work on the streets and in the coffee shops talking to people about Jesus – when I ask people what they think the Church is all about I get a variety of answers and have never had someone say, “well, the Church is to be about the Father’s business like Jesus, the Founder of the Church, was. And, that business is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10)”. People honestly are confused about what the purpose of the Church is today in their community. Well, holding “a pleasant afternoon concert” is not going to help clear the matter up for those who walk or drive past this church building every day.
I’m not talking marketing strategies here. I’m just concerned that many people in our society today are clueless as to why the Church exists and what it is the Church is called to do or is doing in their community. As a result they simply never think of the Church and its work or – if they do have a passing thought about this organization – they simply write it off as somewhat irrelevant to their lives.
I’m still driving up to the school gym where my local church holds its Sunday worship assembly. Here’s where my thinking went. So, there are two questions that we – the Church of Jesus Christ – need to wrestle with …
1> What business are we in?
2> How’s business?
Now, don’t get hung up on the word “business” thinking that I’m talking about marketing strategies or advertising gimmics … I’m just talking about the “purpose” of the Church and the “mandate” or marching orders that the Founder of the Church stated was the reason for the Church’s existence. In other words, what was the reason Jesus had in mind for establishing the Church? We need to wrestle with that question.
Biblically – what is the purpose of the Church – the business that we are in?
What is it that Jesus would have the local church do on His behalf since He is the Head (or CEO) of the Church?
What is it that He is expecting us to accomplish in His Name?
What does it mean to be an “ambassador for Christ” in today’s world?
What is the message that we should be declaring to the world on His behalf?
What does He mean when He states: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”?
Is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) still foundational to the work of the Church today?
What are we going to be accountable for when we face Him on our personal judgment day?
Just something to mull over on your coffee break at work today. Or, if you work with a believer – something to chat about with them as you share some down time from the everyday pressures of the job you are involved in. Maybe take a few minutes by yourself later today or tonight and think about some of these thoughts. Afterall, you are the church – so we are really talking about you here!