bits from bob....

What Business Are We In?

by Robert J. Young
©, 2006, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Business consultants often ask companies, "What business are you in?" The church cannot be guided solely by business principles, but the question still has value. "What are we about?" Mottos and mission statements reflect efforts to answer this question. What is your dream for this church in the next 50 years? What do you hope this church can become? Where are we trying to go? What are our goals and values? How will we know when we get where we are going?

One challenge most churches face is that not every member gives the same answer to the question. One says, "We are in the people business." Another says our business is evangelism. Another focuses on missions. Yet others say that a primary task is benevolence. Someone else will remind us that we are in the educational business--teaching the Bible and sharing the gospel. With increasing frequency, I hear responses focused in areas we seldom thought about 40 years ago. We are a worshiping community, we are a community of nurture seeking the spiritual growth of each member, we are committed to service. Some churches focus on relationships with great success.

I submit that we are in only one business-the salvation business. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Our task, divinely given by our Lord, is to follow his example. The name, Jesus, signifies Savior. The church is the congregation of the saved. Our task is to extend the kingdom as far as possible, helping people find salvation in Jesus Christ and live out the reality of that salvation. Our task is to save people and keep them saved.

Not every church does this work in exactly the same way. Some reach out to our lost world with acts of compassion, others with teaching. Some choose evangelism fields close to home, others focus on mission work across the seas. Some find multiplied ways to serve, others simply provide a wonderful example of kingdom living. Some build bridges across which the gospel message can travel by establishing relationships with unbelievers; others build bridges by meeting felt needs. The message spreads and is supported by how we worship, how we live, how we love, how we serve, how we care, how we talk, how we teach and preach, and by countless other aspects of our life.

May we never forget-our priority is the same as that which caused God to send his Son. We are in the business of helping people find salvation in Jesus Christ.

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Last updated August 20, 2006