I think one of the worst things a church can do (note the little “c”) is expect people to come to them, stay forever, and fill a spot on a roll sheet. It’s almost like some expect the Church to be a lake or a pond: you come in, and collect. The problem with ponds, lakes, and other stagnant bodies of water is that, unless stirred, the water becomes full of bugs, germs, algae and other infestations. Jesus didn’t tell the woman at the well “I will make you a well, or cistern or pond or lake.” He told her “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” That living water is a stream or spring that flows, gathering with other streams to make a mighty rushing water. The Church is not a pool, pond, well, or lake to stagnate, but a river that is constantly flowing out in to the world. This is why we need to emphasize to those who follow us that it’s not about numbers on Sunday Morning or Wednesday night. A church’s worth isn’t measured in popularity, but in obedience to the commission that Christ gave us: to go in to the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching Him to obey all He has commanded us. We need to consider that it isn’t our job to conform people to a denomination, it is to make disciple makers who make disciple makers. And this role is perpetual until Christ returns! It should bleed in to every facet of our lives, and we should encourage one another, continually, to go and make disciples who make disciples. We need to be conformed in to the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and help teach and train those who come after us to do the same, helping them teach and train those who come after them, and so on. I know it sounds repetitive, but this is what has been done, successfully, by the Holy Spirit through the church for millennia! We don’t need to “change the program,” we don’t need to make it hip and cool, we need to submit to the Father through His word and by His Holy Spirit inside of us! When we become disciple makers who make disciples and teach those disciples to do the same, we find satisfaction, fulfillment, and ownership in the Great Commission. We become who we were meant to be in Christ, as we leave a legacy in the Kingdom that will outlast our memory. Matthew 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
John 15:6 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Acts 1:6-11 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
1 Peter 2:9-12 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.