My Life Group has been doing a study entitled, multiply: disciples making disciples, by Francis Chan. It’s been a good study focusing on our responsibility to grow as a disciple (follower) of Jesus Christ, and our responsibility to make other disciples of Jesus Christ.
Someone used to ask me, “What kind of church is Cross Culture Church? Are we a church that focuses on evangelism? Or, a church that focuses on discipleship? Or, are we a church that focuses on missions? Or, a church that focuses on worship? What kind of church are we?”
The answer I gave them never seemed to satisfy them, but it’s the only answer I will ever give. The answer is, “Yes.” We are a church that focuses on all of the above, although I consider evangelism and missions one in the same. Whether you’re trying to share Christ with someone on the other side of the street, or the other side of the world, it’s still the mission of the Church to take the Great News of Jesus here, there, and everywhere.
Some people might say, “Well, that doesn’t sound very focused. How can you ‘focus’ on so many different areas at the same time?” Answer: it’s not easy. Most churches struggle with keeping a balance between worship, discipleship, and missions. I’m sure Cross Culture does.
In fairness to the question I was asked, many churches do focus on one particular aspect of the life of followers of Jesus Christ. Some churches become known for their worship. Some churches are known as churches with lots of discipleship programs. Still other churches are known as churches that put a premium on international missions. And still other churches are known for having a strong outreach program to the local community.
Those churches have success drawing people who have a particular passion for that particular area of the local church. Honestly, doing ministry that way is easier. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with having that type of single focus, but, as I understand scripture, it’s simply not enough.
The New Testament understanding of a local church is one where all aspects of a healthy body are emphasized. Sometimes, during a particular emphasis, one aspect of the life of a church may be focused on more than the others, but it should always be the church’s goal to bring balance to the life of the body.
Cross Culture Church should focus on worship. Our worship should be as good as we can make it, to the glory of God, teaching and leading people in a fuller understanding of what both corporate worship, and private worship ought to look like. It should be genuine. It should be theologically correct. It should be centered on the greatness and glory of our God.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
Cross Culture Church should focus on discipleship. Our Life Groups, our preaching, our counseling and mentoring, our children’s and student ministries should help people grow up in their understanding of, and relationship with God. It should be informational and inspirational. It’s not only teaching people what the Bible says, but why it matters for our lives.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT)
Cross Culture Church should focus on missions. It is the calling and responsibility of all of us who make up the body of Christ to take the message of Jesus locally and globally. God draws people to Himself. God does the saving, but without question God has given us the task of taking the message of Jesus to the world, the whole world.
The Holy Writings say, ‘No one who puts his trust in Christ will ever be put to shame.’ There is no difference between the Jews and the people who are not Jews. They are all the same to the Lord. And He is Lord over all of them. He gives of His greatness to all who call on Him for help. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved from the punishment of sin.
But how can they call on Him if they have not put their trust in Him? And how can they put their trust in Him if they have not heard of Him? And how can they hear of Him unless someone tells them? And how can someone tell them if he is not sent? The Holy Writings say, ‘The feet of those who bring the Good News are beautiful.’ (Romans 10:11-15 NLV)
So, my Life Group is doing this study, and I was reading this morning in our book and at the end of the chapter on the Kingdom of God the author wrote: “Pray that God’s reign over this world would be established and that this rebellious world would see Jesus as the true King.” (Francis Chan, Multiply)
Cross Culture Church, all of us, have a role in this. We do need to be a focused church; a singular focus of a relationship with God where our worship is honoring God, our discipleship is growing us, and our mission is reaching the world. It’s not one thing over another. It’s all of us doing all of it. That’s a biblically focused church. By God’s grace that is exactly what Cross Culture Church will always strive to be.
So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. (Acts 16:5)
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."