The times we are living in provide an opportunity like never before to rethink who we are and the way we do church. We are pressed to ask the question, "Why are we here?" Once we refocus our purpose as a church, prayer is the first step in the process of shifting our priorities to reflect our true calling.
“I will make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Is.49:6
If you go to a store and the employees seem more interested in talking to each other than serving the customer, you may want to shout, ”Why are you here?” It speaks poorly of their training and understanding of their purpose.
Sometimes the church also needs to be reminded of our purpose and why we are here. Our primary purpose is to be a light for people who do not yet know Jesus. A secondary purpose is to disciple those who are already following him. And yet we spend the bulk of our energy focusing on ourselves rather than on the primary persons our Lord intended for us to enlighten.
Israel had the same problem in their day. Their chosen people status made them very happy to embrace salvation just for themselves. They failed to embrace their mission to enlighten the nations.
As we refocus our ministries during the pandemic, we have the opportunity to re-dedicate ourselves to being a light for those who need to know Jesus.
Thom Rainer suggests 5 things churches should do differently in 2021:
- Triple the amount of time the church dedicates to outreach in the community.
- Have a backup budget if giving does not meet expectations.
- Move from incremental change to substantive change; we don’t have the time to “eat the elephant one bite at a time.”
- Cut back on clutter and activities. Focus on doing a few things well.
- Approach ministry with a church planter mindset. If your church was starting anew, what would you start? What would you stop? Evaluate everything and rethink your church.
As we engage these questions, it is vital for us to start with prayer for our missional purpose as a church body:
- How do we discern and pray for our community?
- How do we pray about the giving of the church?
- How do we change, shift, or pivot during this time?
- How do we focus? What do we stop doing and what do we start doing?
- How can we see what God might be saying to us in these things?
It all begins with prayer. The Bible has made it clear why we are here:
“You are the light of the world. Let your light shine so they may see your good works and give glory to God.” Mt. 5:14-16
Let the Word of God remind you of your purpose as a church and then prayerfully make plans accordingly.
-Peter Kelder, Central USA regional mission leader for Resonate