Remember the old V-8 commercials where someone who wasn’t taking in a balanced diet would be leaning to one side? That’s what I think of as I read the thoughts and opinions of various church leaders about “what the church should be all about.” It typically sounds something like one of the following…
- Jesus was a disciple-making discipler who discipled disciples, so the church should be all about making disciple-making discipling disciples as well. Let’s disciple some more disciples.
- Soul-winning is the main thing! And we need to keep the main thing the main thing, and that’s soul-winning. Let’s win more souls! How many have you baptized this week?
- The church needs the Word. We should be taking people deep into the Word through a historical-grammatical hermeneutic and expository preaching. Let’s start another in-depth expository Bible study.
- It’s all about the worship, man. Let’s feel the music, experience the excellence, and sing all night.
You get the picture. We tend to go to seed on our favorite issues, and sometimes unwise leaders pursue their own passions to the neglect of other areas of concern for the local church. This is the reason I still think one of the greatest books on church leadership ever written is Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church, and I long to see an up and coming generation read it afresh for insights into the issue of balanced church health.
The fact is, God has expressed five distinct purposes for His people and for every local church.
- God wants every church to grow larger through evangelism.
- God wants every church to grow deeper through discipleship.
- God wants every church to grow warmer through fellowship.
- God wants every church to grow broader through ministry.
- God wants every church to grow stronger through worship.
I’ve seen these packaged a little differently by different leaders and different churches. The mission statements vary, the terminology changes, but I love to see a balanced church moving forward in God’s purposes. Avoid going to seed on one issue and be all that God meant for you to be.