The Mission of Catering
Recently, a blog article written by Eric Bryant grabbed my attention. The title was, “Has Listening to Church Attenders Led to the Decline of the Church?” Eric said, “As church leaders, we need to make decisions based on who is not here yet rather than on who has been here the longest.” In other words, it is the needs of people outside the church that should dictate our mission, not those who will always be there when the doors are open.
If we continually seek the approval of people in the church before taking action—whether it is a new program, activity, or direction—we run the risk of turning the church into a catering service. Catering to people who already follow Jesus stunts their potential for spiritual growth and detracts us from our primary mission of fulfilling the Great Commission.
Some argue that if we ignore seasoned Christians we may lose some of our financial support. We need to remind ourselves that we are working for God, not man.
Our driving force in a church should be to make disciples, not to pacify those who already follow him. The problems comes when we feed disciples to the detriment of those who are starving for the love of God. This means intentionally healing the sick, serving the needy, and sharing the love of Jesus with people who do not know him.
However, a word of caution is in order at this point. Sometimes, pride blinds us to wise counsel and closes our ears to hearing God’s voice. We need to be very careful that this does not happen by bathing our decisions in prayer and listening to God. If we do not receive confirmation, it could be that our desires are based on our own human frailties, and our premature actions may prove fruitless. On the other hand, sometimes God expects us to take risks and trust his leading. It all depends on the depth of our relationship with Jesus and our own spiritual maturity.
The bottom line is to keep our mission in focus while allowing God to direct our steps.
Are you spending too much time in the catering business?
What can you do to strengthen the effectiveness of your mission?