What Drives Our Church?
“We’ve always done it this way!”
“We’ll do whatever the leader wants.”
“How much will it cost?”
Sunday school, the women’s program, the choir, and the youth group are examples of programs that are often driving forces in churches. “We’ll do what we have to in order to maintain that program that is benefiting the church.”
Some churches get buildings they can’t afford and then all the money goes to sustain the buildings. Other churches settle for inadequate buildings to save money, and those buildings are functional to reach the lost.
“Let’s keep everyone busy.” Event driven churches often have something going on almost every night of the week. Someone should ask, “What’s the purpose behind this event?”
“What do the unchurched want?” While we must be sensitive to the needs of seekers, we cannot allow seekers to drive the total agenda of the church.
God’s purposes for His church include evangelism, but not to the exclusion of His other purposes.
Biblical Paradigm: Purpose-Driven Churche:
There are 2 essential elements of this paradigm.
- It requires a new perspective. We must begin to look at everything our church does through the lens of 5 New Testament purposes and see how God intends for the church to balance all 5 purposes.
2. This paradigm requires a process for fulfilling the purposes of the church.
We’re going to look at the process that Saddleback Church used to enable their consistent growth.
Paul taught that God will judge what we do on the basis of whether it will last.
1Corinthians 3:13-14) [GNB] And the quality of each person’s work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone’s work; the fire will test it and show its real quality.
14) If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward.
Paul also taught that the key to building something that will last is to build it on the right foundation.
1Corinthians 3:10-11) [GW] As a skilled and experienced builder, I used the gift that God gave me to lay the foundation for that building. However, someone else is building on it. Each person must be careful how he builds on it.
11) After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that foundation is Jesus Christ.
Strong churches are built on purpose! By equally focusing on all 5 New Testament purposes our church will develop the healthy balance that makes lasting growth possible.
Proverbs 19:21) [MSG] We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but GOD’s purpose prevails.
Plans, programs, and personalities don’t last, but God’s purposes will last.
The importance of being purpose driven:
The starting point for every church should be the question, “Why do we exist?” Until we know the answer to this question we, as a church, have no foundation, no motivation, and no direction for ministry. We need to capture a clear vision of what God wants to do in and through the Walk of Grace Chapel church family.
When Rick Warren was researching growing churches he discovered that they all had a clear-cut identity. They all understood their reason for being; they were all precise in their purpose. They knew exactly what God had called them to do. They know what their business is, and they know what is none of their business.
89% of church members surveyed, when asked “Why does the church exist,” answered, “To take care of my family’s and my needs.” 90% of the pastors surveyed said “The purpose do the church is to win the world for Jesus Christ.”
A PERSONAL NOTE: Obviously the pastors didn’t believe what they answered if they hadn’t convinced 89% of their members.
The Foundation For A Healthy Church
Your church’s foundation will determine its size and strength.
If we want to build a healthy, strong, and growing church we must spend time laying a solid foundation. We, who are involved, must have clarity of mind as to exactly why we exist and what we’re supposed to do.
There is incredible power in having a clearly defined purpose statement.
A clear purpose —
- Builds morale.
- Reduces frustration.
- Allows concentration.
- Attracts cooperation.
- Assists evaluation.
A Clear Purpose Builds Morale:
1Corinthians 1:10) [BBE] Now I make request to you, my brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you will all say the same thing, and that there may be no divisions among you, so that you may be in complete agreement, in the same mind and in the same opinion.
If we work together for a great purpose we won’t have time to argue over trivial issues.
Proverbs 29:18) [BBE] Where [there is] no vision, the people perish:
Rick Warren believes that where there is no vision people leave for another parish.
A Clear Purpose Reduces Frustration:
Isaiah 26:3) [GNB] You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.
Isaiah 49:4) [BBE] And I said, I have undergone weariness for nothing, I have given my strength for no purpose or profit:
A clear purpose reduces frustration because it allows us to forget about things that don’t really matter. It doesn’t only define what we do, but what we don’t do.
If we decide we want to do something we need to ask, “Does this activity fulfill one of the purposes for which God established this church?”
James 1:8) [GW] A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything.
A Clear Purpose Allows Concentration:
Usually the sun doesn’t set leaves on fire. But, if you focus the power of the sunlight through a magnifying glass it will set a leaf on fire. Light, concentrated at an even higher level, like a laser beam, can even cut through a block of steel.
A focused life and a focused church will have a far greater impact than unfocused ones.
Philippians 3:13) [GNB] Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.
A Clear Purpose Attracts Cooperation:
People want to join a church that knows where it’s going.
Proverbs 11:27) If your goals are good, you will be respected,
A Clear Purpose Assists Evaluation:
You can evaluate your success if you know what you’re trying to do.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church