This discussion with Reggie McNeal, missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network and author of numerous books on church leadership, focuses on perhaps the most fundamental issue facing the church today: How the need to promote our church organization actually keeps us from advancing God’s kingdom in our communities.
Our consumer-oriented society demands services, and churches respond by providing an ever-widening range of programs. Those programs, of course, require church members to provide ever more human resources to support them.
Church leaders find themselves under pressure to constantly innovate programs and recruit church members to staff them. And church members wind up getting the idea that the measure of faithfulness is their level of their participation in the organization’s activities.
If you compound this with a gospel message focused primarily on the afterlife — perhaps even a disavowal that the quality of this life has anything to do with salvation — you have a very serious problem. Even lost people understand that Jesus helped people in need and that his true followers do that too.
We try to mobilize church members to witness to people about eternity, but we don’t help them understand how to be salt in a society that is decaying around them. God’s people don’t understand their role in “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
If we aren’t trying to help people live abundant lives now, why would we be surprised when they discount our message about eternal life hereafter? Why would we be surprised when people lose interest in our organization’s activities? Why would we be surprised when even our members drift away?
God’s Revolution is about a world in captivity — and the Creator’s mission to set us free and bring us full circle back to the peace he created us to enjoy. An essential part of that revolution is showing people how to live life the way God designed us to live. If we are to be part of God’s revolution in this world, God’s people must do God’s justice in their communities.
See more about Reggie McNeal’s book, Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church–and What We Should Do Instead
Visit Reggie McNeal’s website.
Visit the Leadership Network website.