I was reflecting the other day on death. If I knew my last day was soon, what would I do? It would certainly focus me on what was most important.
After a stream of consciousness, I thought about this: what if the local church knew about its “death date.” How would it spend its last few weeks or months?
Taking it a little further, I thought about this: what if everything about Christianity was forgotten and we only had the Bible to start with. How different would it look than what we are doing today? We have 2000 years of tradition under our Christian belt. I can’t help but imagine how different it would be if we took Jesus’ example and instructions seriously.
Last week, I had a pastor of a thriving church tell me that given the choice of two options, it was more important for his congregation to invite people to church than share the gospel with their community. It honestly surprised me. He went on to tell me that most pastors of growing churches would feel the same way. It took me a couple of days to process that.
I can see their perspective. They are offering a holistic solution that goes beyond just sharing the gospel. They provide the all important community of believers with programs, teaching and groups that help people of all ages mature in their walk with God. But I can’t find the scripture that directly supports it. “Forsake not the assembly of the saints” is the closest I can get.
It’s an internal struggle for me. I love and believe in the local church. It provides hope and help for many. Neither are wrong but which is better? If we were to start over, the local church mission might be different. Instead of internal programs, it might be primarily outreach focused.
For now, I’m glad I don’t have to choose between sharing the gospel or promoting a local church, I can do both. You can too. It takes all of us to “go and make disciples of all people.”
WIIWT will focus on sharing the gospel and will point people to great community churches that will help them grow.