Thursday, January 9, 2014

Great Church Programs...Oh, and Jesus too!

(This is a quick follow-up to yesterday's post about our "Mission in a Minute".)

One thing that is intentional about how I share our mission is how quickly I bring up the name Jesus. The mission is founded on the belief that if more people acted like Jesus and let Jesus love others through them, then the world would be a much greater place (tying in with the overall theme of my blog). Simply, if we want to raise healthy children, build better communities, change people's lives, etc., then start obsessing over Jesus.

Our mission forces me to define what a disciple is right away, which brings up another reference to Jesus. The whole point of everything we are about has to be Jesus. Otherwise, we become focused on man-made systems that have the power to save no one.

This is a paradigm shift for many churchgoers. What I have noticed about many folks in traditional churches (and I was this way myself) is that they are good at telling people about their church programs, but not as good at telling people about Jesus. The conversation usually includes phrases like these:

  • You should come check out the children's ministry at our church.
  • You should hear our pastor preach. He uses videos and props and doesn't make it boring.
  • There is a rock band coming to our youth group service this weekend. Want to come?

Again, there is nothing wrong with any of these things...unless they replace Jesus. This doesn't happen intentionally, of course. No churchgoer is going to say that Jesus is not important to them. However, I have experienced the subtle, gradual way Jesus can be pushed aside in the name of "outreach" or "worship" or "ministry" or "stewardship". Heck, I have been the one doing the pushing before. 

To be fair, I should confess that this can be just as big a problem in simple church or house church settings. I still struggle with it. I wonder how I can still have the King of kings and Lord of all be an afterthought.

Here is a challenge for you. Set a timer for one minute and begin to list and describe all the wonderful things you know and love about your church. Then, reset the timer and list and describe all the wonderful things you know and love about Jesus. See if you run out of time or have time left over in each situation.

Remember, the answer in the New Testament was never to go to church, but it was always go to Jesus!

(Note: Strangely, one of the tags you don't find for my blog posts is Jesus. That is because I hope that He is somehow influencing or embedded in every post.)

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