The mission of every church is to go into the world and share the good news of Jesus that heals the broken. What gets in the way of this actually taking place? Sam Ranier thinks there are several reasons.
1. A Me-First Mentality
Inwardly-focused churches decline. Some more quickly than others, but spiritual navel-gazing inevitable hinders the mission of the church. People with a me-first mentality believe the church exists to meet their needs rather than a way for them to serve their community. When personal preferences are elevated above God’s mission, the church will turn inward, creating a culture of selfishness and entitlement.
2. Church Bubble Syndrome
When a church views its role as protecting members from the rough and tumble world of the community, walls will inevitably go up. Though these walls aren’t physical, they might as well be—letting certain people know they’re not welcome. And when you stop welcoming one kind of person, it becomes much easier to stop welcoming others, as well. Ironically, most churches would probably say, “All are welcome!” But it doesn’t take long to figure out who is truly welcome and who is not. Church bubble syndrome limits the reach of the gospel into the community, and God will not honor churches that limit His mission.
3. No Expectation of Growth
No church can grow indefinitely. Even massive churches with exponential growth curves will eventually slow down. It’s a statistical and sociological reality. But far too few churches have a culture and expectation of growth. If you examine a church in decline, you will often find a congregation with an entrenched mentality. They want the church to stay the way it is. Growth is viewed as a risk, and new people become a threat to the ideal size of the church.
My prayer is that Journey will continually be a God-honoring community of faith that actively shares the good news of Jesus that heals the broken, that we will not adopt a me-first mentality, that we will not get caught up in a church bubble syndrome that limits the reach of the gospel, and that we will expect growth by the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit.