C.S. Lewis once said “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ.” If this is true do you think some of our churches have become something other than church?
If drawing people to Jesus is the sole purpose of the church. What are we if we have great programs, nice buildings, good music, but no conversions? Maybe we have ceased being a church, and become something else.
This quote reminds us of the importance of constantly evaluating how we “do church.” This is the litmus test of whether we are a church or something else…like a club, or a social gathering. The answer to the question: Is our church truly the Body of Christ? Is found in answering the question: Are we drawing people to Jesus?
Jesus said in Matthew 7:20, “…you will recognize them by their fruits.” What kind of fruit are we producing? What kind of fruit are our ministries and programs producing?
Too often we put programs and ministries on life-support, even after it’s obvious they are not producing fruit, (their better days have long since been gone). Sadly, when we do this we begin serving our programs rather than serving the people. This is what happened during the Dark Ages. A Lutheran theologian once said, “The institution has stopped serving the people, and the people have started serving the institution”
How unfortunate that the very way we do church can sometime become the very thing that is obstructing the Gospel from being spread on a much greater scale. Could the resources being poured into a certain program, that isn’t bearing fruit, go to greater use in a ministry that is? It’s time for the church to ask the difficult question, “Are we serving people?” or ” our programs?” Because if our programs have stopped leading people to Jesus, yet we do them just because we have always done them, we’ve elevated them above our sole purpose. We can’t lift up Jesus because we are too busy lifting up our tradition.
Timothy Keller in his book Center Church says, “Some churches identify so strongly with their own theological tradition that they cannot make common cause with other evangelical churches or other institutions to reach a city or work for the common good. They also tend to cling strongly to forms of ministry from the past and are highly structured and institutional. Other churches are strongly anti-institutional. They have almost no identification with a particular heritage or denomination, nor do they have much of a relationship to a Christian past. Sometimes they have virtually no institutional character, being completely fluid and informal…a church at either extreme will stifle the development of leadership and strangle the health of the church as a corporate body, as a community. To the degree that it commits either of these errors, it loses its life-giving power.” (1)
So, how can we make sure we are being the church God has called us to be?
Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32
Paul said, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2
Is the way we are doing church lifting up Jesus? Is the way we are worshiping making it easy for people to come to Jesus? Is it all about the people, or the programs? Is it all about Jesus, or is it about our comfort zones? Is it about the commandments of God or is it about our traditions? If we answer these questions we will find out if our church is truly being the Church. And if it is broke…we can let Him fix it! He has this awesome way of repairing broken things.
1. Keller, Timothy J. (2012-09-04). Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City (Kindle Locations 395-401). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.