Why Isn’t the Church More “Influential”?
Is bigger really better?
In my humble opinion, both the world and the Church have defined influence incorrectly. They both recognize Sunday morning attendance as a mile marker of influence for a church, like it’s a great thing to be able to fill a nice air-conditioned, video and audio enhanced, child friendly, coffee laden, glazed and jelly-filled donut building with people. Its like going to the movies and not having to buy a ticket, getting free drinks and popcorn, and a show! You also get the added benefit of seeing your friends as you view the show each week. Oh yes, a religious check mark is a nice thing to receive before you leave as it soothes your conscience from the weeks activities spent in the world’s system.
Can I make a suggestion? What if we measured real influence as the ability to lead people where they don’t necessarily want to go but where they really need to go for the good of their family as well as society? Could it be that the definition of real influence is not leading people to a free experience that costs them absolutely nothing, but rather to a decision that will cost them a huge sacrifice in order to fulfill God’s great commission?
Here are some determining factors that have lead to this conclusion:
George Barna research indicates that only 4% of all people that consider themselves born-again believers actually give 10% or more to the preaching of the gospel. This means that 90% of most congregations actually benefit from the other 10% of their congregation’s sacrifice. Think about it. The chairs we sit on, the air-conditioning that we use, the nursery our children enjoy, the carpet and tile we walk on, the videos, the preaching, the coffee, the bulletins, the leaders/staff, the landscaping, the entire building we can come to each week, all free of charge comes from the 10%-ers.
How does this make you feel reading this? Well, if you’re a 10%-er you probably wish the others would get on board so we could do more for the Lord. If you’re a 90%-er, you’re probably wishing this letter wasn’t directed at you.
Maturity doesn’t come with age, it comes with the acceptance of responsibility. Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous because Christ took responsibility for my sins not His. When will people that enjoy the sacrifice of Christ begin to sacrifice for Him and take responsibility for a lost and dying world?
Barna also tells us that only 2% of all “born-again believers” have ever shared their testimony, much less vocally witnessed for Christ in an attempt to help others become “born-again.” If these numbers are accurate, and I believe they are, then this equates to 95% of our congregations on Sunday mornings never sharing their faith!
So I ask you, what are we actually doing on Sunday mornings in America? Is this really influential? We have more churches in America today than ever before and yet the crime rates are higher than ever before. The officials in office are seemingly more corrupt and passing corrupt legislation most recently in the areas of pro-choice abortion mandates and same sex marriages. Who elected them? Americans. Who attends our churches? Americans.
To assume that a church with 2000 attendees on Sunday mornings with 10% committed members is more influential than a church with 300 attendees that has 100% committed members is an obvious mistake. However, society and The Church buy into this deception as they both promote the pulpit that is largest, based on a Sunday morning service attendance number.
Did Jesus have a Sunday morning crowd? Or, did he, rather, go to the hi-ways and hedges? The first churches were small groups held in homes. The Book of Acts said that the believers brought their land and earnings to the home groups and shared all things with everyone in need for the sake of furthering the Gospel. How did we get off track? What have we, the American church, become? We were initially placed on the earth to be a thermostat not a thermometer. We are here to change the world not become like them. The lines are now gray instead of black and white. Our influence has become small. Today is the day we begin to draw the lines again as we did in the beginning when Joshua stated, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
It seems to me that for entirely too long the American church has wandered into the land of the unbalanced. What I mean is the Church and it’s leaders have overcommitted to the uncommitted. We’ve done this with resources, time, talent and treasure. Sure, we need to reach the lost, the uncommitted, with everything we have like God did when He invested His best by sending His Son Jesus as a ransom. However, once someone has declared for Christ, the fruit should be that they are willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. You’ve heard that the road to heaven is narrow and the road to destruction is broad. Instead of cultivating a culture for the broad seats (no pun intended) we should be pouring into the committed, the sacrificial, the narrow path people so that we can reach more with much better efficiency and effectiveness.[Tweet “It seems to me that for entirely too long the American church has wandered into the land of the unbalanced. GF Watkins” http://disciplemenmag.com]
Gideon had to have his numbers decreased, so did David and Abraham. The trimming down of the core has been and still is a way in which to prepare for a real victory. Look at the Green Berets, the Delta Force, Navy Seals: these are all small factions but the best trained of our military numbers.
The Chinese church has exploded and yet they aren’t allowed to preach under the penalty of imprisonment. It’s called the underground church. This church is comprised of thousands of small home gatherings of disciples that really embrace the book of Acts style of church as well as, for the most part, the same sacrificial spirit that makes the church the Church.
Let the Revolution begin! Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a Man of God is a matter of Choice!
Will you be mentored/trained? Recruit and train others?
Will you live your convictions?
Will you commit until the job is finished?
Will you speak up and out?
What do you think about this? Is the American church misdirected in its’ mission? Share your thoughts below. Share this on Facebook and Twitter to discuss!
Guest Author, GF Watkins, NCMM Member, is a pastor, leader and influencer. Recently, he has launched an apostolic ministry to help pastors and leaders maintain their course and reach their destiny. This new ministry is already helping cover 9 churches and ministries while simultaneously focusing on helping our high school, college, and professional athletic coaches. Jordan Ranch and a team of excellent ministry coaches/leaders are at the center of the new ministry named “The Genesis Project.” This team is committed to covering Pastors, coaches, professional athletes and leaders of all kinds with a desire to make a difference for eternity.