Perhaps you might be wondering why anyone would want to write about “what’s the trouble with church?” Don’t we have enough negativity already the way it is?

Two reasons why I’m doing this: First, I am passionately jealous about the Church of Jesus Christ. As a pastor in a local church I need to raise my voice whenever I see trends in Church that ought not to be.

The second reason may not be as obvious or easy to explain. Every flaw within the Church corresponds to a fabulous yet unrealized blessing. In other words, every failure in the Body of Christ robs it of the success that God had intended for it. Every person that is unengaged with the mission of the Church potentially spells one less person being reached for Christ. Now hopefully you understand better why I insist on this topic and I hope you will be patient with me as you read this long post.

Jesus said that the Son of Man came “to seek and save the lost.” This is as close to a mission statement as you can get. Among His last words to a nascent Church were these: “Go into all the world and make disciples…” Some have tried to weaken the force of “go” in the sentence by reminding us that the command is to make disciples. But that is a false dichotomy. The “go” in the Greek is a participle. It means, “by going” or “while going.” This by no means weakens the “going” aspect of the Great Commission; quite the contrary. The point is that you must go first. That is your immediate priority. And if you don’t go, there will be no disciples to make.

Jesus’ very last words to the disciples were also about the mission of the Church: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). He not only told us what would happen, He gave a strategy on how to go about doing it. No ethnic group, no geographical location, no religious persuasion shall fall outside the reach of Christ’s light, but His followers must get there first.

Finally, Jesus told the story of the shepherd who left the ninety-nine in the pen and went after the one that was lost. The story concludes in Luke with this surprising statement: “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:5). In Matthew it is even more pointed: “And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” (Matthew 18:13). 

Now, I am not saying that we should neglect the people who are already in Church. On the contrary, there is enough admonition in the New Testament for leaders to shepherd God’s people well. But I am asking the question: could it be that one of the troubles with the Church today is that we have come to believe that Church is only about the 99?
Maybe you don’t buy that, but I still would humbly ask you to stop and ask yourself:

* How much time did you spend with Christ’s other friends this last week?

* How many friends do you have who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior?

* When was last time you invited a friend into your home for a meal or just to hang out, with the specific purpose of sharing Christ with them?

* How often do you pray for people you know who are still outside of Christ?

* Does it importunate you that many of the people you know, if they died today, would spend an eternity without Christ? When you think about it, what are you motivated to do? And more importantly, do you do it? And if you don’t, why not?

* When you start your day, do you pray for opportunities to sow the seed of the Gospel?

* When was the last time you posted something on Facebook or other social media about your love for Christ and the hope you have in Him?

This summer we will be challenging everyone to engage in some aspect of the Great Commission and it all starts this Sunday with a massive commissioning of everyone to be on mission for God. Don’t miss the mission.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA