For the six months or so I have been thinking about the church, and its job in the world. My purpose in thinking about the church is to be able to explain the church better to those around me, help them understand their place in the church so we can do more for the cause of Christ together. At Central Church we have broken down the job of the Church (and believers) to a three fold vision:
- Worshiping God
- Loving You
- Reaching the World
We are attempting to make this more and more a part of our church thought process, and infrastructure. We want to be able to say to our people: "There are three things we want you to do as a believer: worship God (attend corporate worship on Sunday mornings), love each other (be a part of a small group to love and be loved), and do your part to reach the world (be involved in service and evangelism inside the church and out). This three fold emphasis makes life easier, makes vision easy to explain, streamlines efforts, and hopefully adds glory and souls to the kingdom. I love this, and am a big supporter of it...but my question is this: "Is our job even more simple than this?"
In my thinking I have taken this three fold approach down to a two sided approach. As believers we should be:
- Worshiping God
- Pushing others toward God
Whenever I share this I feel like there is so much left to explain, but then I remember that there will always be much more to explain. I like this approach for a couple of reasons: 1) This approach mirrors the Great Commandment of Mark 12:28-31. In the Great Commandment there are two sides: God and others, this lets me know that our ministry philosophies should fit into that same vein. We should not have a ministry philosophy that emphasises the human side more than the God side, we should follow the Biblical model and have a two fold model. 2) Encouraging our people to "Push others toward God" is much more general but much more descriptive than other models. As Christians we should push everyone we meet towards God; if we have a conversation with a fellow believer they should be closer to God because of it, if we meet up with a non-believer they should be a step closer to calling on the name of Christ as Savior. We can push others toward God in everything we do, whether it be at church or at work, this can be life! 3) The language used does not intimidate. Most people feel like they can worship God, and most people feel like they can push others a little closer to God, on the other hand they get a little overwhelmed with the thought of reaching the world or even loving everyone. This gives the average Christian something they can hold on to and strive for as they push on toward maturity. If Christians will do these two things on a daily basis the Kingdom will grow exponentially. 4) It is much easier for me to remember 2 points rather than three, though we could just go with the Westminster Catechism which has one point for this....
There are also two things I don't necessarily like about this phraseology: 1) it doesn't necessarily flow off the tongue (not that important I know) and 2) it doesn't mention the name of Christ. I don't ever want to be accused of getting away from a Christ centered Gospel (that is an oxymoron), so I want to use the name of Christ in this, but to this point I haven't.
Here is the point. As Christians we have a job to do. Whether we break it down to three points or two, or even fifty: we have to be obeying the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission. This is the job of the church. As leaders we must streamline our churches so that our people can concentrate on these main things, as Christians we must streamline our lives, getting rid of what is in the way so that we can concentrate on what Christ told us is most important: 1)worship God, and 2) push others toward Christ.