By Pastor Dan Christian
The bottom-line reason why we ask God to bring people into Evergreen SGV is so that they will come to know and love and follow Jesus. The goal is not just to grow our church. The goal is not just to increase our budget. The goal is not even to expand our ministries. Those are all good things, and they are goals that we do shoot for, but they are not the foundational goal. The foundational goal is that each person entering in to our church would love God more.
As we embrace certain values that will help us become even more hospitable and welcoming, values like initiating friendship and keeping our assigned task connected to the bigger vision, we have to keep this bottom-line reason in mind. The Church is the Body of Christ, therefore it is centered around God, not centered around people. That may seem like a pretty obvious statement, but here are some ramifications of that which are perhaps a little less obvious.
People are not the Savior…Jesus is. The best thing we can do for a new mother coming in to our church is connect her to Jesus. That connection to Jesus may come through connecting her with a ministry like MOPS, but MOPS in itself is not the answer to her deepest need. That new mom needs encouragement and strength that only God can provide, so we do her a disservice by putting all the emphasis on what MOPS can provide rather than (through MOPS) pointing her to Jesus.
The Church exists to bring glory to God…not to get your needs met. Many people come to Evergreen SGV because we have a certain program or ministry or style that they like. While we can’t necessarily keep people from coming with a “consumer” mindset, we don’t need to perpetuate that mindset by “advertising” all the self-focused reasons why people should join our church. Instead, let’s point them to Christ, and Christ alone, as the primary motivating factor for joining our church.
God alone is perfectly faithful…people will let you down. When we center ourselves around people, sooner or later we will be disappointed or hurt. People are fallible sinners with very limited resources. But when we center ourselves around God, there will be stability and hope, because God is unlimited in His resources and perfect in all His attributes.
So as we invite and welcome people into Evergreen SGV, let’s make it our goal first and foremost to point them to Christ, not just to the ministries or programs of our church.