I once had a football coach make the statement, “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and be successful!” His point in saying this was to inspire our team to believe that anything was possible if we were willing to prepare and perspire. In fact, our team was in rebuilding mode during my senior year of high school. However, we finished the season as conference runner-up to the dismay of most prognosticators. We were a great example of a team that played over our heads!
My hope in sharing this quote with you is to help you to let go of the fear of failure. In my experience, the fear of failure is one of the main reasons that many churches put so much energy in maintaining the status quo. It seems they are worried that any attempt to try something new that may not pan out will result in consequences so dire that things can never be put back together again. Therefore, a great deal of energy is spent on attempting to do nothing!
Any church that operates in such a manner has probably lost touch with why they exist in the first place. In leading our 95Network One-Day Events, the foundational Growth Engine that we focus on initially is understanding your mission and vision. We believe your mission is why you exist! Every aspect of your ministry should be built on your mission. It is the focus of your leadership development, discipleship pathway, communications and volunteer culture. All great ministries and organizations are built upon a clearly defined mission.
At the center of any church mission should be the Great Commission. Jesus clearly instructs His followers before ascending into Heaven that they are to go into the world and share the Gospel. However, it appears that many churches have changed His instructions from go and share to sit and wait. The end result of this change has brought about churches that are much more insider-focused and outsider-oblivious. They are more interested in serving saints instead of saving sinners!
So here’s the question: Do you know why you’re having church this Sunday?
In other words, do you know your mission? Maybe a better question would be, are you having a positive impact in your community? My hunch is that a vast majority of our churches hold services each week because it’s what we have always done. Yet, there’s not a compelling or urgent motivation behind the practice. It’s just what we have continued to do for years. And as time goes by, we become more and more disconnected from those who so desperately need to hear the Good News.
In case your church is lacking in a clear understanding of why you have church each Sunday, please allow me to share four simple principles to help you gain clarity:
Why Churches Should Gather on Sunday
1 – Edify the saints. A common question that has been debated over the last few decades has to do with whether our Sunday gatherings are for the saved or for the lost. Truthfully, they are for both. It is extremely important that we present our services in a way that the non-believer can understand why we do what we do. However, it is also critical that we create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit is welcomed to encourage the believers as well. After all, it’s the Holy Spirit that actually draws us to understand our need for Jesus.
2 – Impact the community. I believe that God has raised up your church in your community at this time. Your church is not an outlier. You can connect with your community. But maybe it’s time that you did some research to get better acquainted with who actually lives within a ten mile radius of your location. By gathering, you are able to motivate your congregation around a singular mission to maintain a focus for those outside the four walls of your church.
3 – Reach the next generation. I often heard growing up back in the 1970s that 90% of all salvations happen between the ages of 0 and 18. I find it astounding that this is still true today. I simply can’t think of a better reason for gathering every Sunday than having the intentional strategic focus of reaching children and youth! Obviously, we still need to care for everyone over 19. But if the Great Commission is at the heartbeat of our mission, then shouldn’t those of us who have been saved the longest want to help reach the next generation?
4 – Pray for miracles. I have always been intrigued by a statement Jesus said near the end of His ministry. In Luke 18:8, He said, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Jesus wonders out loud if His followers will still be believing Him to do the impossible. It would be so impactful if your church was known throughout the community as a place of prayer. It seems that the most hardened heart will still seek out a true prayer warrior when their life is falling apart. Make it your top priority to develop a ministry that connects people to the power of prayer.
There are many other strategic areas that you can focus on in attempting to do something great. I encourage you to gather with your leadership team and begin having the hard conversation of answering why you exist.
Continuing to do what we’ve always done will eventually lead to a church that is on life support! It’s critical that we allow Jesus to fill us with a passion to reach our community, whatever the cost. Having a mission to change our community may be attempting to do the impossible. However, never attempting to do anything is simply not an option in pursuing the mission Christ left for us.
Want Help Starting the Conversation?
Clarifying the specific mission and vision of your church can be difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. This is absolutely something that you can do on your own, but it requires intentional effort and time with your team. Talking about your mission and vision typically isn’t a “natural flow” of weekly conversation if you aren’t intentional.
If you’d like help starting the conversation with your team, “Developing a Clear Mission and Vision” is the foundational module of VisionBox, our simple, team-based resource delivered right to your door and designed to help you clarify 5 key areas of your ministry.
Check out the details to see how VisionBox can support your team: