What is a church’s goal?

Our church’s mission statement is “to make believers out of unbelievers and disciples out of believers.” That statement was on my mind last week as I was preparing for last Sunday’s sermon in Hebrews chapter 6. The author of Hebrews seemed to be on a similar mission when he wrote his famous warning passages. His piercing words call for the lost to receive salvation through Jesus Christ, but they also call for the saved to press on to maturity in Jesus Christ. He reminds unbelievers that it’s possible to know a lot about Jesus but not actually know Him, but he also reminds believers that it’s possible to know Jesus but never grow up in Him. These verses are a call to action regardless of where you are at on your spiritual journey. And while his words were cutting, I’m confident his goal was not to cut you and me down. I believe his goal was to see lives changed.

Changed lives should always be the goal of the church. Our mission statement guides us, but life change is what drives us. It should be our motivation, and it is the profit we will reap when we are effective in our mission. We want to see the lost have their lives changed by Jesus. Our church must always think of those who are not here yet and aim to introduce them to Jesus Christ. People are the only thing we will take with us to heaven, so evangelism must always drive us in our mission. But we also want to see believers have their lives changed as they take their next step in discipleship. We want to see people grow up to understand the Word of God and apply it into their lives. Our goal is to see homes strengthened, communities built, addictions broken, and believers begin to experience the fullness of life (John 10:10).

The last couple weeks we have seen life change here at ABC. We have seen some surrender their lives to Jesus Christ for the first time. I’m proud of the church members who were a part of the journeys that got them there. I’m proud of those who are right now praying for their lost neighbors, friends, and colleagues. I’m proud of those who are building relationships with folks outside of our church, and I’m thrilled to see some of our church members are beginning to bring their lost friends to church. The church is not a country club for the saints, it is a hospital for sinners. The church will only come alive when each of us understands that truth, and we all begin to view the world outside our church walls with Gospel-centered eyes.

But I’m also proud of the lives we’ve seen changed from inside our church. We have seen marriages strengthened, friendships forged, and iron sharpen iron each week. I’ve seen new people step up to serve in ministries for the first time, committing to use their gifts for the glory of God. Many church members are caring for one another and carrying each other’s burdens in times of turmoil (Galatians 6:2). Some are growing to understand God’s Word for the first time through personal reading plans and commitments to BFGs. Midweek discipleship is growing, and we’ve had successful Christian enrichment events including our marriage conference and women’s ministry Twilight Tea and Testimonies event. Some have started to establish the spiritual discipline to worship through giving their tithes and offerings, and because of that, they are now partners in all these wonderful ministries that are bringing life change.

My question this week is “what is your next step?” Stagnation has no place in the Christian calling. We are told to, “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1). How is God calling you to continue to mature this week? Ask Him how you can help us fulfill our mission to make believers out of unbelievers and disciples out of believers. Is He calling you to pray and minister to a lost acquaintance or loved one? Maybe He’s calling you to serve, give, or grow in a Bible Fellowship Group. I do not know what He is calling you to do, I just know that He is calling. I’m praying that you and I will simply be faithful enough to answer. Have a great rest of your week and I look forward to seeing you in worship this Sunday.

Onward and upward,

Jonathan Spencer

Last Sunday’s Sermon: Jesus is Better – “A Better Warning” Hebrews 5:11-6:9

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