The church exists to reach people with the message of salvation and to equip people to advance that message. Sadly though, we get distracted with so many secondary things that we forget this simple idea. Though many of our distractions come with the best intentions, they are still distractions. Any distraction that turns your eyes away from the gospel is a distraction not worth focusing on.
One of the greatest distractions of any church is focusing on what many people would deem as good while missing the best. A youth ministry that keeps kids busy is good, but if it never leads them to Jesus it has settled. A senior ministry that provides opportunities for fellowship but never equips its members to invest in others falls short. A church the fills its schedule to the brim without a primary focus on the gospel is a busy church that has settled for just good. God’s desire for the church is to be his hands in changing the world. If our hands are full of good things, they are too occupied to carry the gospel.
Well Intentioned Concerns
Another great distraction in any church is when our focus moves from the gospel to any number of things that don’t matter. Out of genuine concern people focus on church lighting, music style, dress code, accompaniments, or children’s behavior. We believe that we are doing it for the right reasons, but far too often our best intentions lead us to miss God’s main purpose.
Every church is given the same numbers of hours in a day. Many churches fill their schedules so full that they neither have time to, nor give their members time to interact with any person outside the church building. I have noticed a phenomenon in churches when I ask people to share their faith. Many of whom I have given this challenge to respond that they simply don’t know unchurched people. We as churches must make the gospel a priority by making gospel centered events of first importance and clearing the church calander so that our people can have time to connect with others outside the church.
Tradition becomes a distraction in the church when our hearts care more for preserving a culture over advancing the gospel. Today you can walk into many churches and feel like you are walking back into 1960 again. One of our great temptations is that we forget that our job is to advance the gospel and instead we settle for trying to preserve a culture. Leading people to live like a bygone era is not God’s call. The gospel alone is God’s call.
What fills your time? Is it filled with good things that are cheap substitutes for the gospel? Are your words filled with well intentioned concerns which are a distraction from the gospel? Are you so busy doing church things that you don’t know anybody who doesn’t go to church? Are you so in love with a bygone era that you miss the gospel?
The church can only have on driving passion. We will either be about the gospel or we will settle for something else.