Distracted Church

It’s so easy for me to wander off the narrow path of ministry effectiveness and into the weeds of distraction.  I believe with everything in me that God has designed His church to be a brilliant display of Christ’s glory while we fight for the good of our city and world.  We’re called to be the peace makers and the prophets of our day.  We’re called to be salt and light.  We’re called to radiate faith, hope and love.

Yet, we waste so much time entertaining and impressing one another.

There are days when I can’t help but wonder if the church is tweeting, posting, pinning, periscoping, instagramming, conferencing, coffeeing, blogging, podcasting and webcasting ourselves into irrelevance.  All the while there are flood victims in South Carolina, Syrian refugees and victims of human trafficking in our own city.  There are stagnant Christians in our pews, hell-bound people in our work places and hurting people in our homes.

I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite for saying all of this on blog, so let me be clear: I don’t hate social media.  I use it and I’ve seen some brilliant uses of people leveraging their platform for the good of others and the advancement of the gospel.  I’m all for it!  But I wonder how much more effective we would be if we put down our devices and picked up the Word of God a little more frequently.

The Scriptures lay out a clear path to ministry effectiveness:

  • “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4)  By the way, it worked.  Acts 6:7, “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”
  • “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.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • “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.” (Acts 1:8)

The path to ministry effectiveness is as clear as it is elusive: be a witness for Christ in our world, make disciples and build the whole thing on a foundation of the Word and prayer.  Use whatever means available (social media included) to move down that path.  But don’t allow them to become a substitute.

I pray for a church that is focused on our mission, the disciplines that undergird it and the incredible calling God has given us.  I pray for the humility to care less about digital impressiveness and care more about personal effectiveness.

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Culture
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