Rather than looking at the church as a place where we escape the sin of the world, we need to use it to reach those who are in the world. It is not uncommon to see new ministries start their services in bowling alleys, motels, theaters, vacant warehouses, mortuaries, and other public gathering places. Often the greatest growth, and the time when the church has its greatest impact, is during these start-up times.
The ministry formation period requires people to be involved. Chairs and PA systems need to be set up and taken down. Usually snacks, coffee, and other items must be stored and brought from the homes of the members. There is a committee approach to putting the service on, and the members are united around the common vision and goal of reaching new people for Christ.
Unfortunately, once the new property is purchased and the church built, many members feel it’s time to turn the operation over to the full-time staff. After the organizational structure is in place, participation is very often limited to attending service on Sunday morning. Seeking new disciples too often becomes secondary to having a social gathering place for the saved. The church needs to be an equipping center to place people back into the marketplace to meet and encourage those who are broken, confused, and in despair.
“Jesus is the perfect role model for this. He was among the people where they lived. He didn’t expect them to come to Him; He went to them.” (Robert Lewis, The Church of the Irresistible Influence)
You must decide if you’re going to fish or cut bait. Will you obey God’s command for believers to go and make disciples, or will you merely sit on the sidelines and watch others do the work? Spectators and bait-cutters rarely get to experience the thrill and challenge of the catch. They usually don’t take the risk of leaving the shore and confronting the challenges of the sea, facing the risks and costs involved in investing in the lives of others.
Being a spectator often leads to being critical of what is happening on the water and evaluating someone else’s catch. Unless asked or pressed, a spectator doesn’t use his spiritual gifts in ministry or share his testimony with others.
Participants, on the other hand, are involved in the process. They plan, discover, and deploy the game plan of fishing for men. They get their clothes smelly, hands dirty, and hair messed up. That’s all part of being a fisher of men with Jesus, part of being in the boat with Him.
So, what about you? Are you going to fish or cut bait today?
Taken from The Spiritual Mentor, by Jim Grassi