Several years ago, I walked into a Detroit Public School and noticed a sign hanging in the entrance that read “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing”. I soon found out it was the new mantra of the former Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Burnley. So a few days later, I asked Dr. Burnley, what was he trying to communicate to the staff and students since the mantra was ordered to hang throughout every school in the district. His response was simple, we are educators and we should focus all resources and energy toward educating Detroit kids and not get side tracked. Interesting!!!!!!
Well let’s fast forward a few years later and that is my message to the church. Brothers and sisters let’s keep the main thing the main thing. However noble it is to fill in the gaps of missing services, our central focus must be evangelism and discipleship. In fact I would say to Black or Urban churches, it is socially and theologically irresponsible when we place anything else above evangelism and discipleship. Our biblical mandate as Christians both individually and the collective body is to GO (Matthew 28: 18-20). It is in our going that verse 20b says “And surely I will be with you even until the end of the age”. In 1 Corinthians 3: 6-9 The Lord reminds us through the Apostle Paul that if we plant and water God will bring the increase. The evidence is clear we’ve stopped planting and watering.
When I say it is socially and theologically irresponsible not to be fully engaged in evangelism and discipleship it suggest that we no longer believe in the power of God to transform and change people and circumstances. How can we look out of the windows of our churches or drive down the streets and not see the enormous and overwhelming hurt of our people and think that our band-aid solutions can solve these problems. As Believers we should know that only through a personal relationship with the incarnate Christ can ones life truly be transformed. It is when we surrender our sinful spirit to godly renewal that true change takes place.
We have master the art of making things look good. God knows the wickedness of our dreadful minds and even on our good days we are pathetic with good intentions. Recently I made a conscious decision to closely monitor and record the wicked thoughts of my good intentioned mind. Looking intently throughout the day was completely overwhelming. So I asked myself why would I think that my brilliant and creative intentions would lead to transformations apart from the person (s) I’m seeking to serve surrendering to Christ and growing accordingly. What I know is a completely surrendered life to Christ at least causes the Holy Spirit to convict and correct (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Sisters and Brothers our boats may be out of the water on dry land. We are like hamsters in a cage spinning and making no progress but we are working hard. (Revelations 2:2-4). However noble the cause of reconciliation, feeding the poor, hosting phenomenal music programs with great praise and worship, even our service to children and youth, if it is not accompanied with evangelism and discipleship we are like a boat on the shore or a hamster in a cage.
There is a new movement that suggest the body of Christ should wait for the non-believer to seek The Lord through our witness. I do believe there is wonderful place for that in the growth of the church but our biblical mandate is to GO and MAKE. Acts 1:8 says we (believers) have received power from the Holy Spirit to be His witness in Jerusalem (our communities), Judea (our Country), Samaria (the darkest places in our societies) and the ends of the earth (the world). (The writer’s commentary emphasis.) Our faith must be active and present. Some the best moments in my life are when I am intentional either in my presence, conversation and/or in my loving (agape).
Recently I was visiting with a friend in ministry and he was sharing all of the various ministry endeavors and I told him that his budget would be a reflection of his churches love. That statement stunned him because his church budget was not a true reflection of his ministry desires (Matthew 6:21). (Probably in another blog I will discuss the question, do people make the ministry or does the building?) My point is we need to reevaluate budgets to emulate the desires of Christ and hopefully our hearts.
Perhaps we need a reminder note to hang in our buildings saying” Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing”. As we all reflect on Resurrection Sunday, let us remember that Christ died a brutal death for us and that every one of us sin and fall so short but Christ bridged the gap making our righteousness possible. We must pass this Gospel on to everyone (Romans 1:16) and trust The Lord to bring the increase. Never let it be said we did not do our part evangelism and discipleship (Matthew 7:21-23). I’m not judging I’m Just Saying….