This post is not meant to be negatively critical of the church, so I ask that all ‘church haters’ don’t use it as fuel for their “I told you so’s!”. God’s church is comprised of imperfect people, so just like anything else on this earth, it’s a work in progress. That’s what this article is about…progress.
This is for people in the Body of Christ who want to make the church what God would have it to be.
Do you have great worship? Great praise? Great Fellowship? If so, that’s great because you should. But, we all know that’s not the ONLY reason God has His church on the earth. It is an extension of His love reaching out not only to SAVE, but to SERVE.
Unfortunately, many churches, big and small, have become social organizations that only serve the members or the other churches within their circle. Yes, God told us to do good, especially to the household of faith….
Galatians 6:10 (NKJV)
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
But, it doesn’t and shouldn’t stop there.
Look at these often overlooked and rarely preached verses of scripture in Luke…
Luke 14:12-14 (NKJV)
12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
How many churches have fellowship dinners and special days for themselves and invite the churches in their circles, and are subsequently invited back by those ‘sister’ churches, while totally ignoring the homeless, hungry and destitute in their communities? Does yours?
Now look at Luke (parable of unfruitful fig tree)…
A tree planted to bear fruit but only has leaves is using up the ground. Using all of its resources to sustain itself, but not reproduce…
Luke 13:6-9 (NKJV)
6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that[a] you can cut it down.’”
Most of us learned at least by middle school that leaves use sunlight (SONlight) to photosynthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Their purpose in a sense is to ‘feed’ the tree. We also learned that the function of fruit is reproduction. So, we can conclude that a fruit tree with all leaves and no fruit is only serving itself, because its not reproducing. Just as Jesus’ parable that tree is ‘using up the ground’.
That’s true for any church that uses its resources and light from the SON only for and on itself. If it has no programs to aggressively pursue converting sinners, make disciples, reach out to those in need, and share God’s love, it’s just like that tree in Luke Chapter 13…using up the ground…self-serving…ALL LEAVES AND NO FRUIT.
Is this your church? I hope not. Here’s a quick assessment, self-check that you can do yourself to see if this is your church.
Serving Members 1-10?
Serving Community 1-10?
Outreach to Community 1-10?
Outreach beyond Community 1-10?
Missions or Supporting Missions?
If you scored high for worship, praise, fellowship, teaching and serving members, but low for what goes on outside the four walls, then there’s work to be done. Or, if you just don’t know whether or not your church goes beyond the four walls…that’s not good either because you should know.
Quite frankly, it’s inexcusable for some of our churches to be decades and over a hundred years old and have NO outreach, NO evangelism efforts or support, NO concern for the community.
We do what’s important to us, and don’t do what’s not.
How does your church rank?