The Church has everything it needs to impact the world. Unfortunately, if we compare it with secular society, there are several areas where society is leading the Church- ways in which the Church was meant to excel! Part of the problem is our bad theology, or lack of theology, which holds us back from the full potential of Christ’s body. Here are five areas where the Church needs to reclaim its leadership.
- Encouraging Individuality
Freedom (within God’s will) is supposed to be a hallmark of the Church. Instead, the Church is more known for uniformity. In fact, many people leave the church because they are bored or don’t feel they fit in. The goal is to follow Jesus, but we don’t have to look the same. Popular culture is desperately telling people to be unique. God’s message thousands of years ago was that He made us each uniquely in His image (Psalm 139:13).
- Influencing Culture
This is foundational to the mission of the Church. We are to impact the world for Christ by making disciples, being salt and light (Matthew 5:13). However, we see far more disciples of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, TED Talks and Harvard Business School. Leading cultural change for the better should be a core component of the church, but it’s often outsourced to secular society.
- Inspiring Drive and Passion
Being driven for selfish motives is wrong, but being driven is not. Society encourages personal drive for money, power and success. In the Church, are we as driven to make Christ known? The Apostle Paul was relentlessly driven by the glory of Christ in every sphere of his life (Phil 3:7-9). Are we more passionate about the mission of the Church than businesses are about making profit?
- Pursuing Quality
In the business sector, if you don’t perform then you are out of a job. In the church we can’t just drop people, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold people to a higher standard of quality. We know that ministry is not about production, but our efforts should be to the best of our ability (Col 3:23). It was the Jesuits and Presbyterians who founded some of the best educational institutions. Shouldn’t Christians today create movies, books, music, apps, and websites that compete with the best of society? After all, what we do tells the world how committed we are to the One we serve.
- Adapting Creatively and Contextually
We know that there are moral boundaries for how the church operates, but the church is meant to be extremely adaptable- able to thrive in any culture at any time. The Great Commission makes it clear we are to teach and baptize to make disciples (Matt 28:18-20), but there are many possibilities for how we can reach, teach, and equip the saints. Yet with all of our resources (including the Holy Spirit in us!), we still get spiritual myopia. It is often our tradition that blinds us to new possibilities. Society contextualizes movies, business plans, and technology to reach the masses. How creatively is the Church doing the same?