[This blog is a continuation from yesterday. Here are some additional items to consider as we ask whether our focus is biblical and healthy.]
3. We must focus on people more than task. We must know who we are, and not only what we must do. One can do the right things without being the right person. One cannot be the right person without doing the right things. Thus, we must move our focus from rules to relationships. We must focus on intimacy more than issues. People matter to God. The Sabbath was made for us, not us for the Sabbath. This priority will change your life. God is calling us to togetherness in Christ.
4. We must focus externally more than internally. What we do as Christians, both down at the church house and in our daily lives, is not about us. It is all about God. It is about God’s desire and plan in this world. Thus, we must move our focus from the church (club) to the community. We must see God’s purpose in our world. We must learn to think glocally (both global and local). We must focus on God more than self.
5. We must focus on genuine discipleship. You can be a member of most churches of Christ by doing nothing more than attending a time or two each month. You may be able to be a member of the church with such antics, but you cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ! Discipleship is demanding. Discipleship is hard. Discipleship calls us to discomfort, and giving up self, and cross-bearing, and priorities that are not natural is our world. Discipleship calls our focus away from personal needs, possessions, prestige and prominence, power, and even parents. How should we do church? We should say to one another, because it is what the Bible says, that being a Christian is demanding. You cannot just “get by.” You cannot be half-hearted. Faithfulness is not something that is turned on and off. A Christian everywhere, or a Christian nowhere. Ever a Christian or never a Christian. Christianity changes more than our Sunday schedule.
6. We must focus on involvement. We must move our focus from consumerism to involvement. The question is not, “what will the church do for me?”, but “what will I do for the church?” (to paraphrase the famous phrase of John F. Kennedy). We are not here to be consumers, and we must not guide our outreach and evangelism by encouraging others to become religious consumers. Church is not about getting comfortable. Jesus came to afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted. We should call people to become Christians, and to live that out daily. Discipleship is daily.
7. We must focus outside the building. This is not easy. We have built religious centers that attract few. We have put up steeples to say, “Here is religion; here is the church.” God is calling us to be light and salt and leaven in our world. He is not calling us to see how many people we can get inside a building; he is calling us to see how many Christians we can get into our communities and world to provide an example of transformation and spiritual reality.
I hope we have the heart to learn how to do church right. If we fail in answering the call of Jesus in our contemporary world, I fear that we are destined to nothingness, and that more quickly than we can imagine.