A pretty common question in church growth seminars is, “If your church closed tomorrow, would the community notice or care?” It’s almost impossible for churches to admit that they primarily exist to serve their own members. On the flip side, it’s almost a guarantee that churches who do primarily exist to glorify Jesus in their communities will grow. The irony is that church growth is not even the goal! The goal is to glorify Jesus by showing His love, thereby helping people become believers and give their lives to Him. This usually results in growing churches. Most people in most communities don’t see churches like the latter, but rather like the former. It was Gandhi who famously said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I’m thankful that Wesley Chapel Short Gap has allowed be to be so involved in the community. I’m thankful that many in the church are following me, as I follow John Wesley, as He followed Jesus. Wesley, who said, “All the world is my parish” also wrote,
““If you ask on what principle I acted, it was this: ‘A desire to be a Christian; and a conviction that whatever I judge conducive thereto that I am bound to do; wherever I judge I can best answer this end, thither it is my duty to go.’”
I find that I can be a Christian and grow closer to and be more like Jesus just as effectively in the community (if not more) as I can in the church. I’m thankful that I serve a church that is constantly becoming more vital to the community. I’m starting to think they would miss us if we were gone.