I recently came across this article from Pastor Steven J. Cole while preparing to preach on Acts 13:1-3. I appreciated his words but didn’t realize until after I preached just how much they had influenced me. I think I quoted or referenced points he had made more than the text itself! While it was a striking homiletical failure on my part, I have found my mind returning time and time again to themes and ideas from the post.
Especially this question: “What is the main business of the church?”
When I first read it, my first thought was, “Business? Church isn’t a business!” But then I realized he wasn’t calling church a business but was talking about the church’s task, what we think we are about, what we do, why we exist. That clicked.
What we are supposed to be doing is evident in the Word. I summarize it like this:
The Church exists to glorify the Father by being disciples of Jesus who love God and love people and make disciples in the power of the Spirit.
We are so used to doing “church” the way we’ve always done it that we never stop to think about what we should be doing. I am fond of quoting whoever said that “every system is perfectly designed to give the results it gives,” and nowhere is that truer than in the church world.
If the business we are in is truly to be disciples (a term that necessarily includes active engagement) then why is church producing so many passive spectators?
If our goal is to promote love for God (and Jesus says we’re to do that with all that we are) then why is church advertising so many ego-driven experiences?
If our stated agenda is to demonstrate love for people (the New Testament is pretty clear on this subject) then why do so many see love-in-word-only, bickering, and hatred from us?
If we are meant to make disciples (and we are: Matthew 28:18-20) then why are existing churches dying off right and left and new churches not being started among unreached peoples?
Because we have forgotten what business we are in and we are getting the exact results we should expect from the system we have created. And until we remember our true business, we will continue to forge uselessly ahead with our consumer-focused, preference-driven, numbers-obsessed busyness.
That’s our business. Oh, God, may we remember.