DEAR CHURCH, Those who have believed, received, and confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord of your lives. We are the “Called Out Ones” who have been entrusted with the mission of making Jesus known all throughout the world. This is a tall order, but Jesus promised we would never be alone on this journey. The following are ten things God’s word says are key ingredients to a healthy and effective church. And, as a Christian you are a part of the church and need to play your part. This is not an attempt to rewrite the “Ten Commandments”, but regardless of where you attend church these things should make your top ten.
#1 LOVE GOD
(Mark 12:28-30) 28 ….“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Everything we do and say should flow out of a personal love relationship with God. We should worship God out of adoration, not obligation. We should seek that which he wants, not what we want. The church was created to bring glory to God. And, the way we bring the greatest glory to God is for our hearts to be in tune with his heart. The moment our hearts are not right with God is the moment things turn upside down. God’s word says that man looks at what man does on the outside, but God looks at our hearts.
(Revelation 2:3-5) 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
#2 LOVE PEOPLE
(Mark 12:31) The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
God loves people more than anything. God commands us to love people more than programs, processes, and anything else. One of the greatest things missing in churches all over is “God’s Love.” We have been commanded to love others as God has loved us. Well, God loves us no matter what, unconditionally, regardless of race, position, past, or present. God was willing to go to any extent to show His love to us! We need to go to every extent to show that same kind of love to those around us.
The Bible says without love everything I say and do is meaningless. (1 Corinthians 13)
#3 LOVE ONE ANOTHER
(John 13:34-35) 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
People who experience chaos outside the church don’t want to come and experience chaos inside the church. Brothers and sisters in Christ we have to figure out a way to put aside our differences and love one another in a way that others want to be part of God’s family. It’s been said that “Christians” are the only soldiers who shoot their own soldiers.
#4 SHARE THE GOOD NEWS
(Romans 10:14-16) 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Every believer has been called by God to be ministers of the gospel. Each of us have good news that needs to be shared with everyone we come in contact with. The good news is Jesus saved our soul. And, that Jesus can save anyone’s soul that chooses to receive God’s forgiveness and believe in Jesus’ death burial and resurrection.The message has not changed and the way to Heaven hasn’t either. Whether you’re 7 or 77 people need to know that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. People need to hear the gospel that Jesus loves them, died for them, and will save them.
#5 GET OUTSIDE THE WALLS
(Mark 16:15-16) 15 Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
As church attendance continues to decline (Only 25% of Americans attend any church) churches still act like they expect people to just start running through the doors. This is about as likely as someone out fishing expecting fish to just jump into their boat. Sure, it could happen from time to time, but it’s not likely. We have to “GO” where they are. We have to get outside the walls of the church and be Jesus to a lost world.
#6 MAKE DISCIPLES
(Matthew 28:19) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Discipleship is not an event, but the process of one believer walking alongside another believer. Every one of us should have people that we are intentionally investing time and teaching into. Discipleship is simply you showing and sharing with someone what it means to take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.
(Proverbs 27:17) As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
#7 TEACH THE WORD
(2 Timothy 3:16-17) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that all God’s people[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Our approach to connecting with people in a relevant way must continue to adjust to be culturally relevant. But, the word of God will never change and must be preached with no apology or compromise. People need to the hear the truth in its entirety and they will give an account for what they do with what they’ve heard.
(Matthew 28:20) “and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
#8 SEEK TO SERVE NOT IN CONTROL
(Matthew 20:28) …the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As Christians we have been called to be “Little Christ”. This means we have to live, love, and look like Jesus in our everyday life. Our attitudes should be the same as that of Christ. Jesus did not seek control, but was a humble servant of God. The church today doesn’t need more control freaks, but a house full of Christ-like servants. (Philippians 2) tells us how to have the attitude and mindset of Christ.
#9 VALUE EVERY MEMBER OF THE BODY
(1 Corinthians 12:27) Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
(James 3:2) We all stumble in many ways. Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
The church is made up of a bunch of sinners all saved by the grace of God. None of us are perfect, but each are a part of the body of Christ. Each of us have value, gifts, and ways God wants to use us to grow His kingdom. We must value every believer, every church and seek to encourage one another in pursuing God’s will. No part is more important than the other, but every part has impact for good or bad.
#10 TRUST GOD FOR THE GROWTH
(1 Corinthians 3:6-7) “6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
We live in a world that instantly thinks bigger is better. The measure of a church’s success is not its seating capacity, but is it giving full glory to God. I am confident, that any church doing things God’s way and in God’s time will experience God’s full blessing and growth.