“The greatest danger of any organization is to lose sight of its reason for existence. This is especially true for the church. A number of years ago someone posted on the front door of a Washington, DC area church a sign that read, ‘Going out of business.’ Not long after the sign was posted someone added these words, ‘We never really knew what our business was.’”
I discovered this paragraph while reading Mark Howell’s commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians.
Howell goes on to give statistics about how many churches close every year despite the plethora of church growth books and strategies, some churches fail to grow and eventually close.
The saddest part of this for me is a growing realization that we have over complicated what should be a rather simple directive. Jesus gave us one task, that is to make disciples.
But to make disciples presupposes that one knows what a disciple looks like and also presupposes knowledge of how to become one.
This is where much of Christendom seems to fail. We add programs, doctrinal distinctives and rules (implied and implicit) which turn church into a complicated social game that leaves the players exhausted.
The literal meaning of the word disciple is a learner. Therefore, a disciple of Jesus Christ, is by definition one who learns from Jesus and seeks to live in accordance with his principles.
The problem is that on our own we are incapable of doing this. We are by nature fallen and everything we do carries the taint of sin.
It follows then that one who is truly a disciple of Jesus must have his sin issue remedied, and the only remedy available for this is the Cross.
This is why the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians,
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2, ESV)
The point is that we cannot be making true disciples of Jesus if we are not preaching and teaching Jesus Christ and him crucified.
The business of the church is to make disciples and we cannot do it without the message of the Cross being central to our teaching.
This is the reason for our existence as an organization.