For many, many years I was simply a pew-sitter at the church I have attended since childhood. Before you think what a good thing that is and what a consistent, faithful church member I must have been for five decades, let me just say this: If the only proof of my Christianity is that I occupy a pew once or twice a week, I am in complete disobedience and have not full surrendered my life to Jesus.
“Now, wait a minute,” you might say, “how can that be a bad thing?”
Well, assuming you believe that the Bible is a guidebook for Christians, Jesus’ last words before he ascended into heaven are our marching orders and our mission. Here is what I was really supposed to be doing instead of sitting in a pew:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Go. Be involved in discipleship. Teach the Bible’s precepts. Not one word about going to church.
Sadly, I wasted some of those pew-sitting decades on being “fed” instead of loving and serving others and expecting my church’s staff to do ministry.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m now first-and-foremost focused on serving others, but I know what I’m commanded to do.
The following is the testimony of a pastor whose church has done remarkable things in their efforts to follow Jesus’ last words by developing an action plan to get where they know Christ wants them to be:
“Our church building sits on a busy road with an elementary school just a block away on the same street. Daily, during the school year, I can watch hundreds of kids walking on the sidewalk to the school in the morning and back home again in the afternoon.
“Over a decade ago, I got the bright ideal to send some of our church staff over to the school to pass out Vacation Bible School fliers to the students on the sidewalks. Noticing our activities, the school administrators told us to vacate the sidewalk and not to bother the students with our invitations on their way home.
“The school felt the need to protect the students from any unwanted solicitation. We were disappointed and confused and did not approach the school again to serve them until this school year.
“Last year, our church involved itself in LifeWay’s Transformational Church survey and an action plan discovery process. We realized that while we had great fellowship within our church, we were not investing in our community very well. We were failing to be the body of Christ to our neighbors and therefore not impacting our community so that it would reflect the kingdom of God. Change was necessary!
“Part of our action plan for transformation was to go back to the elementary school across from our church and ask the administrators if we could “adopt them,” meaning . . .
1. We would pray for the teachers by name every day.
2. We would survey the teachers to find out what kind of school supplies that they needed in their classrooms. We filled every “wish list” presented to us.
3. We would celebrate the teachers’ birthdays and have a teachers’ appreciation day once a month.
4. We would help them in any school events (we have already sponsored car shows, spring carnivals, and field trips).
5. We would help families in need within the school with food and clothing.
6. We would host a back-to-school carnival to provide school supplies to families.
7. We would serve as mentors/tutors to children who needed some extra help in the classroom.
“Our list continues to grow. The school, the students, and the parents have been amazed that we would care for them. Why should the world that God loves be surprised and amazed that a church would love on them? Our school had every right to be amazed . . . we had ignored them for years.
“The other day I went by the school and saw a message on their outside sign that brought tears to my eyes. Without fanfare, the school posted that they were thankful for all that we do for them.
“The believers at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church realize that in comparison to what our Savior has done for us, we have done so little. God is the giver of all things! I am so glad that our “adoption” went through! McCurdy Elementary is God’s gift to us that we might demonstrate the love of Christ!”
Does your church need to develop an action plan for ministry and fulfilling the Great Commission?
Copyright © 2020 by Larry Barker @ healthychurchpodcast.com. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.