We are called by God to go into all the world and make disciples in all nations. We do this because we love Him and thus obey Him. We also do it because we have been empowered and enabled to be His witness through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We are called to “be” a witness and also to go and do – telling and teaching. So, being leads to doing.
It is the same with the church. We don’t go to church, we are the church. And we are called to be the church in the world – light where there is darkness, salt to add flavour and to preserve what is good while bringing healing to what is not good in our neighbourhood, society, and culture. We are called to “be” the church which then leads to us doing things as part of the church to impact and influence the world around us.
However, at times the “being” and the “doing” are neglected because we have so many church activities that we are involved in. There is the prayer meeting, the bible study, the small group ministry, worship team practice, the leaders team, the kids ministry… not to mention our own personal time with The Lord. So, our focus becomes ourselves – each of us looking after ourselves and then being a part of the bigger picture as we are involved in church programs and activities which, again, are often more about us than others – maintenance and not ministry. It does not leave much time to “be” a witness to the lost or “do” anything for those who are not part of the fellowship.
Maybe it is time to simplify the church somewhat. Nothing against all the activities – personal and corporate – that make up what we know as the Christian life. But, if they are simply activities that allow us to feel good about ourselves but keep us from “being” a witness to the lost and “doing” something for them or with them that will show them, in very tangible ways, that God loves them and cares about them – then it is time to rethink things a bit. Time to simplify.
There was once a small factory that produced lubricating oil for machinery. It had a great product and it was in very high demand. So, the factory was expanded and the product line was in production 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, the bigger the factory became the more oil it took to keep the machinery that produced the oil in good operating order. Eventually the company was so successful that it build the largest factory every seen, buying new and better equipment, hiring more people. However, it became so big that it was eventually using all of the oil it produced for internal use. It didn’t take long and the company went into bankruptcy.
Well, the church is in the same situation and facing bankruptcy – spiritual bankruptcy. All of of time, effort, and resources are going to the “factory” with little or no time, energy, and emotion left over to “go”, “be,” and “do.” So, because we are not fulfilling the ministry of The Lord, seeking and saving the lost, maybe it is time to simplify and change the focus from ourselves to those who are without hope because they don’t know Christ. From maintenance to mission and then ministry…
The early church travelled light and moved quickly. They only had organization if it helped to sustain the life of God (Zoe) that was flowing in the local church. They were mission and ministry oriented and thus grew quickly and spread rapidly. We are shrinking gradually and dying slowly but the outcome is inevitable if we don’t change what we are doing and, in some cases, the way we are doing it.
Simple is good.