“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …”
Making reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ is the central purpose of the church. Sometimes, as good Presbyterians, there is a tendency to think that each church should determine what the central purpose should be. I struggle in this area as well. After all, I was raised as a Presbyterian and well groomed in my theological training to appreciate the Presbyterian approach to being the church.
But let me be clear, if we are to call ourselves The Church of Jesus Christ, then there are some decisions that are non-negotiable. The purpose of the church is one of them. Christ gives us our “marching orders” in the great commission of Matthew’s Gospel. The church’s primary focus is to direct resources that make disciples of Jesus Christ.
It is easy to get distracted from this overall and primary mission. But then, in our personal lives, we see this all the time. We are distracted from God’s purpose in our lives by our own wants, needs and preferences. The Bible calls that sin. When our lives become more about “me” than “God” then Christ isn’t really Lord.
There is a corporate culture in any effective organization, including the church. And that is a good thing, particularly when it provides guidance for optimal advancement of agreed-upon goals. The trouble, however, is that the corporate culture tends to assume authority in the church that belongs to Christ alone. Such a culture has rewritten the charter of the church over a period of many years. The result is a church that has edited out the biblical mandate to make disciples. In its place has come the concern with members’ interest and preferences. It is simply another manifestation of the classic struggle between God’s interest and the interest of the people who make-up the membership of the church.
As your pastor, I am committed to continued study of the Bible and learning how God instructs all of us to be the church. This includes a determined dedication to the Great Commission of making disciples as our primary purpose. I am certain it will be a pulse-racing adventure!