“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.’” (Matthew 20:25-26)
Our high officials occupying and seeking the White House are Gentiles – non-believers. As Christians, our job is not to imitate them. Nor should we worry about what they’ve done – or will do. We can only control what we do. We are called to action. Our energy should be directed more toward who ends up in God’s House than in the White House. Jesus asks us to follow His example – that of a humble servant. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
How can you become that kind of servant? How can you show that your home is not on Earth but in Heaven? How can you cast a vote that will last far longer than the next 4 years?
By election day, NOVEMBER 8th…
- Perform a simple act of service for someone you know or a perfect stranger in the name of Jesus.
- Share your story on your Facebook or Twitter page with the hashtag #CastAnEternalVote or #VoteForEternity2016.
- Directly challenge 3 of your friends on Facebook or Twitter to “pay it forward”.
YOU are the Church
The Church is the living, breathing body of Christ. The congregation comprises that body. Each of us is an important body part.
Church is not a “what” – a place. It’s a “who” – yes, YOU. The Church’s power is in the vast number and diverse giftings in the body – fueled by the Holy Spirit. For centuries, those countless parts of Christ’s body recognized their individual roles in expanding the Kingdom – and created an unstoppable, irresistible movement.
So why isn’t Christianity growing in America today? The explanation we’ve put forward in this blog series is that most members and attenders no longer see…
- …themselves as the Church personified.
- …how they weaken the overall body if they don’t carry out their intended functions.
- …the need to carefully evaluate their giftings and apply them to ministry outside of their church.
- …their position in their church as important as the pastor’s.
- …the community as their “customer”, as Jesus did.
- …a sense of urgency around their role in bringing the lost to Christ.
- …the Great Commission as an obligation rather than an option.
Because the individual parts aren’t fulfilling their respective roles in the body, the Church today isn’t healthy. Your toe may be a small fraction of your total mass, but when it breaks your whole body suffers. In the case of the Church, few parts are functioning as well as they should at their most urgent responsibility between Sundays – the Great Commission.
Imagine if the early Church hadn’t aggressively “gone out” and made disciples? What if Christ-followers had relied primarily on pastors to evangelize and educate new believers? Yet that’s where most of us stop today – at extending invitations to church. What if the early churchgoers had stayed among themselves – rarely venturing out into Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to pursue non-believers? What if they hadn’t followed Jesus’ model of demonstrating His love and compassion before telling them who He is? The fact that believers took the Great Commission so seriously was a major reason behind the Church’s explosive growth during its first 1900 years.
How few would be in Heaven if Christians throughout history had seen Church as a place, not as themselves? Yet my fear is that’s how most churchgoers view Church today.
All Hands on Deck
Jesus, His disciples, and churches for centuries treated the community as its target audience – its “customer”. For us, the collective Church, to function effectively all parts must work together to pursue our intended “customer”.
In management consulting, we saw countless examples of departments not working in a company’s best interests:
- Sales – not adequately motivated to convert new customers
- Marketing – targeting the wrong (i.e. least profitable) customers
- Operations – processes designed around the needs of internal departments and not of customers
- R&D – product innovation not keeping up with evolving customer needs
- Finance – not investing adequately in the optimal customers or products
No company can succeed unless all the departments are adequately staffed and aligned around the interests of its best customers. What the Bible says about churches is no different. An entire church – pastors, staff, members, elders, deacons, facilities, etc. – should work together seamlessly to prepare and equip everyone to reach “customers” – those outside its 4 walls. In this analogy, members are essentially employees, not “customers”. They are “insiders”, not “outsiders”.
So, how should each part of the body be utilized in this “members ARE the Church, NOT the customer” framework?
- Members/Regular Attenders – Like Sales, evangelize and serve their true target “customers”, not simply invite them to Sunday morning services.
- Deacons/Elders – Like Marketing, lead everyone in the church into a deeper relationship with Christ so they can have a greater impact in their spheres of influence.
- Staff/Administration – Like Operations, yet geared toward equipping and sending disciples, not on keeping the “machine” running.
- Pastors – Like R&D, cast vision for how to leverage the body to reach more people for Christ.
- Finance/Facilities – Allocate limited resources to the uses that maximize return on investment – which in Kingdom terms is the # of people who come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
What Body Parts have Atrophied?
1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (TLB); “All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. Here is a list of some of the parts He has placed in His Church, which is His body:
- Prophets—those who preach God’s Word,
- Those who do miracles,
- Those who have the gift of healing,
- Those who can help others,
- Those who can get others to work together,
- Those who speak in languages they have never learned.”
As for those first three, it’s clear that pastors occupy the lead role within a church. However, the remaining parts of the body listed could be any one of us – while inside or outside the building. We are the hands and feet of Christ, yet too few of us are stretching and working out our muscles – so they’ve atrophied. Unless we exercise the body part we represent, both in how we serve others within our church and out in the community, the overall body becomes weaker. Unless pastors are willing to risk rocking the boat by challenging members to be stronger body parts, churches will continue to atrophy in size, impact and influence.
What body parts are underutilized today? Are there any we are overusing? Have we invented some parts that God did not even intend for churches to have?
How Can You Rebuild Those Muscles?
Come to the stark realization that you are the embodiment of Church! Understand just how critical of a role you play once you leave the church building. To be most effective as the Church personified, follow Jesus’ model of demonstrating His love to people and then telling them who He is.
We are asking 1 million Christians across the nation to Cast An Eternal Vote (#CastAnEternalVote) before Election Day, November 8th. Please share your stories with us! And don’t forget to challenge 3 Christ-followers you know to “pay it forward” and Vote For Eternity 20:16 (#VoteforEternity2016)!