Friday, March 29 2019
For 42 years I have been studying the local church and have served at every level from rural Eastern Kentucky, to church plants in Kentucky and Missouri, to inner city Lexington, KY, to suburban churches. The smallest had 20-30 in attendance and some 1500+. I am celebrating my FIFTH year as the Lead Follower of the 75 churches in the NKBA. It is my great joy to serve Christ & our churches. I find myself being very reflective and want to share some things that I have found to be true, no matter the size of the church:
1) The church will NEVER have more depth than its LEADERS. (Read II Timothy 2:2). Leaders must model for people and equip them to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13).
2) To stop reaching more people is to become shallow. Unless I’ve been reading it wrong all these years there is no “opt out” clause in The Great Commission (to make disciples). But we cannot forget that includes EVANGELISM. The Great Commission NEVER instructed us to disciple the same people within the same programs in the same ways over and over again. Discipleship by definition must begin with EVANGELISM. If the same people year after year are in the same study and nothing changes (the church or the people), to me THAT IS SHALLOW. As I read the New Testament I can’t help but see stories filled with miracles, life change, and reaching people. That is what our churches should look like today…FULL OF LIFE!
3) Maturity is difficult to measure. I stand confidently on God’s Word and His Standards. Simultaneously I do not want to make God’s Word simply a pharisaic list of to do’s, then maturity becomes works oriented. I think our “scorecard” for measuring maturity of disciples would begin with basic disciplines of Prayer, Reading and Studying God’s Word for wisdom and application, regular attendance in corporate worship, serving Christ as His hands, feet, and voice where He has placed us. Add in the Fruits of the Spirit (Love, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control) and practicing generosity in every way. It is about LIFE CHANGE! As Christ has loved us and given us His grace, mercy, forgiveness with abundant and eternal life, He has chosen to work through people like you and me (WHAT WAS HE THINKING?) to see this work continue. What we celebrate, we replicate. Let’s find ways to measure our growth as disciples and use it to help us become more effective.
SO, there is no opt out…the Great Commission still stands. God, in His sovereignty has chosen to partner with us in this mission. I often hear it said, “The church has a mission.” I think it may be better stated, “The mission has a church”…a people, who God has entrusted with the GREATEST NEWS EVER that continues to change lives! May we ACTIVELY JOIN JESUS in HIS MISSION to our Jerusalem, Northern KY, and to the ends of the world! We are better together!