Is your Church Doing Good to Death?
“The purpose of the church is not to do good, it is to connect people with Jesus Christ. A lot of churches are literally doing good to death.”
I know this will hit some folks sideways, but let me explain.
Every dying church I know (and there are plenty of them) does good things and some of them do a whole lot of good things. When I ask people what excites them about their church, they almost always open with an enthusiastic list of collective good deeds. The problem is that the mission of the church is not to do good; it is to connect people with Jesus Christ. A lot of churches are literally doing good to death. Yours may well be one of them.
Obviously, as we pursue our mission, we are doing to do lots of good but doing good in and of itself is missing the mark. It is an incomplete Gospel. It is a sterile Gospel. Many churches are really good at keeping their most committed Christians really busy (usually exhausted) but the question I am asking is, “Are we busy doing the unique work of the church or have we digressed into a charity among charities?”
Many churches today are trying to address their decline by desperately finding more good things to do. Their leadership is getting more and more worn out by the minute and people are still not coming to Jesus, new disciples are not being made and the church declines with every death or move. Here is the deal, doing good does not, in and of itself, produce disciples. But doing good linked to evangelism can produce incredible results!
What Can Be Done?
- Teach people how to engage in faith conversations
- Instruct people in how to intentionally lead people to Christ
- Teach people how to mentor new Christians
- Have clear processes for inviting new Christians into the life of the church
Evangelism is the reproductive system of the church and without it, churches are literally dying. The Bible is clear that our good works offer credibility and witness to the world, but we can’t stop there. Doing good is a wonderful means toward the ends of connecting people to Jesus but it will kill your church if it becomes an ends to itself.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop has been the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997 and is a Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church.