Do you ever wonder why your church isn’t growing, why it seems like it’s just stagnant or even beginning to decline? I do. Of course, I serve as a minister with a church, so that should come as no surprise. But what about you?
Maybe your church just needs to be a little more outgoing, so that visitors might feel welcomed. That might certainly help. Perhaps your church just needs a little more lively worship, a few more praise songs and some stronger preaching. I suppose that might help too. Or maybe your church just needs to get more involved in the community, being the hands and feet of Jesus to the most needy and vulnerable. Certainly a little more compassion and mercy will help. And of course, maybe…
Have you considered that the problem might be you?
Last week I read a brief article on Thomas Rainer website titled Why Church Members Don’t Invite Others to Church and if you click on the link, you can read it for yourself. As I read the reasons, my immediate thought was “How many excuses do we need to justify why we don’t invite others to church?”
Don’t misunderstand me. I know the mission of God is not about inviting people to church services, per se. There’s nothing wrong with offering such invitations but this isn’t exactly what Jesus has in mind when he tells us to “go and make disciples” (cf. Matt 28:19). However if those who took part in this study understand that part of the mission is inviting people to visit their church worship gathering then they might as well just say “Here are ten reasons why we won’t participate in the mission of God with our church.”
I may be in the minority but this is just lame excuse making. I’m not saying that church problems should be ignored, that solid preaching isn’t necessary, and so on. But let’s get real for a moment. When we see Jesus face to face, the same Jesus who gave his very own life for us, are we really going to make such excuses?
Whatever the excuse, it likely says more about you than it does your church. Every church, big and small, young and old, has it’s problems. If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that there isn’t any perfect church (and there isn’t any perfect minister either!). Yes, some churches are very healthy mission-minded communities while others are so full of problems that they contaminate everyone around them. But the biggest problem with most churches is always you…
Because we are the church!
So here’s a thought: Maybe we should stop making excuses!