I recently had some trouble with my lawn mower. The blade wasn’t engaging and therefore I wasn’t getting any grass cut. My motor was full throttle, but the blade was not making any progress.
This problem with my mower is the same problem some church members have: they are disengaged with the Church. Their motor still works, but they are not making any real progress in the mission of Christ.
Thirty years of ministry has given me the opportunity to see lots of good-hearted folks disengage with God’s Church and His mission. They still love God and love people, but they have lost steam when it comes to God’s Church. At one point, they were monster leaders, and now, they hardly attend, or just don’t attend weekend services at all. As I ponder what has happened to my friends, here are a few observations.
First, you can’t separate Christ’s mission and Christ’s Church!
Two thousand years ago Jesus decided to accomplish His mission using His Church. This was His decision, not mine. I cannot claim to be fulfilling the mission of Jesus apart from His chosen vehicle.
The Church is supposed to be “on mission.” If it is, then I am called to be engaged with the church. Jesus did not make the Church optional. It is His chosen plan and His chosen vessel to fulfill His mission in this world. You don’t give up on the plan, and you don’t check out on the Church.
Second, you must stay a contributor and not become a consumer!
Oh my goodness! Many of the people I see that become disengaged with the Church have slowly transitioned from a contributor to the cause to a consumer of goods. They subtly lose sight of what the mission is really about. The mission actually becomes more about them than it is about making disciples.
When the mission is about you and “your needs,” you will develop a “take it or leave it” attitude toward the Church. Mission-minded people are willing to do whatever it takes, and consumer-minded people are driven by what they can take.
Lastly, you never separate the mission from your stage of life!
I know a lot of people who have disengaged with the Church because their stage of life has changed. In other words, their kids are now grown, and they don’t feel the need to be as committed as they once were. They are retired and don’t want to be tied down like they used to. Are you kidding me? The world is dying and going to Hell, and you don’t want to be committed?
Listen, you may change things as life changes, but not being committed to the Great Commission is not acceptable. Jesus did not say, “Make disciples as long as it fits your stage of life.” Fulfilling the Great Commission is for every stage of life!
Don’t disengage from the Church. The mission is too important, and the world needs the Church more than ever. Be sure that the longer you live, the more engaged you are with the mission of the Church and not less.