As a pastor, I want people to become Christ-followers. I want them to fall in love with God’s Word and experience the joy of gathering with other believers in both home groups and corporate worship, as well as the fulfillment of finding a place to serve in ministry.
But I face one big challenge. Every time Christians step inside a church, it can remove them from the place where they have the greatest impact for God’s Kingdom—the world. It’s sad, but I wonder if we’ve inadvertently designed our ministries to isolate Christians from the places where God really wants us to be. Are we truly engaged in his Great Commission if every extra moment of our lives is spent at church?
I hear the way Christians talk. They want more opportunities to gather for worship. They want more programs to meet other Christ-followers. They want more Bible studies to help them go deeper in God’s Word. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these desires—but what’s often missing is a desire to see people outside the church commit their lives to following Jesus. As Christians, we can become so focused on our own faith journey that we forget God’s command to go tell others the Good News.
As a church leader, are you being intentional about encouraging your congregation to leave the building and reach out to others? Ask yourself these four key questions to find out.
- What does a “good Christian” look like at my church? Am I asking people to do so much that they have no time for real life outside the church walls?
- Do I make it easy for people to invite their friends to attend a service, participate in a home group, or engage in ministry to others? Am I strategic about encouraging people to reach out to their friends?
- Have I made it a priority to teach people how to develop relationships with people outside the church? Do my church members know how to share their story of faith and pursue conversations to hear the life stories of those they’re trying to reach?
- Is my leadership team modeling outreach in their personal lives? Are they being intentional about developing relationships with people who haven’t yet committed their lives to Christ?
Recently at NewSpring Church (NewSpring.cc), we took some time to talk about these same questions. Afterward, during one of our weekend services, we asked folks to consider who in their lives they’d like to see accept Christ.
Then, using markers we provided, they wrote the names of those people on the walls in our auditorium. Yes, eventually we’ll have to repaint the walls, but this helped people visualize the reality that being inside the church building is not the priority—building the church by reaching our friends for Jesus is the priority.