As you know from an earlier blog, I recently had the opportunity of being asked to be a speaker for a pastor‘s conference. That was a blessing for me to be asked to share with them. Over the time I prepared for the sessions I would lead, I was praying about what God wanted me to share. In the process, I never heard an audible voice (I know we all want that but it would certainly scare the bejeebers out of you and I know it would me). But as time went by, His Spirit led my thoughts, my readings in His Word and from others, to Scripture and subjects to address with those pastors.
When it was time to sit down and put it all together, there was a clear direction that built upon itself for the 4 sessions I would lead. I know my desire was to encourage these pastors. To help them understand their ministry and the church they lead as to their and the church's goal. It was nothing earth-shattering. I told them there was no silver bullet or a formula that would fit everyone. There would however be basic and foundational things that any and all could do.
I am convinced that the church moving forward, regardless of size or location, must focus on two things, discipleship and evangelism. These two must be the emphasis and mission of the church. This is nothing new as this was the case since the beginning. That is what the church in Acts was doing. How many churches do you know of, or are a part of, have said they were a New Testament church? Friend, there is nothing more New Testament than discipleship and evangelism.
The church, and I don’t mean the address, I mean the individual members, are the ones who are to be disciples and then reproduce themselves through evangelism. We have to be honest that we have not done this well. If these truly are the main things then, why not keep the main things the main things?
There are times when I look back at my ministry and I see we did it well. Yet there are other times when other things became the main thing. It happens to every pastor and it happens to every church. Now you may be a pastor or a church member who would say “not us, we never have lost focus”. I hope that is true but deeper analysis may lead you to another conclusion. We never mean to do it, that is to wander off the path, but we do. Hopefully, it is just a little slip but that can lead to a big fall.
Recently, I was reading Revelation in my Journey thru the Bible. In chapters 3 and 4, John is instructed to write to 7 different churches. Each one was a legitimate church. One had left its first love, one was going to suffer, one accepted false teachings, one tolerated things that should not be, one that was not living up to God’s standards, one that was getting weaker but kept on obeying God, and finally the one that had become lukewarm.
As I read these accountings of each church, I thought about the church today. I don’t mean your church, my church, or their church. I mean the church, the body of born again believers throughout the world. Without getting too deep in the woods of Biblical interpretation, let me just say if we look around we can find versions of any of those 7 churches in churches today.
I think it is fair to say we won’t ever get this right this side of glory. We will continue to falter and on occasion, we will get it right. So that shows us that we are to keep on moving forward. I said to the pastors that ”we all need to take care in disciplining our thinking”. It doesn’t take much to distract people. Some more than others are easily distracted. Even the ones who seem to stay focused longer can and will become distracted.
When John was told to write to the 7 churches he was also writing to us today. We need to be careful, focused, and look to the Word and Spirit for direction. When it comes, then we must do as He leads.
A thought to ponder,