Too often in the church we try to put ourselves in the place of God. We determine what we believe a loving God would do or say, according to our human definition of love, and act accordingly. However, we need to stop and ask ourselves more often what Jesus would do. If we actually took a good, hard look at Jesus’s life and ministry along with the rest of scripture, we would find the answers.
The problem is that the answers do not fit our preconceived ideas of what Jesus would do and what love really means. You see, Jesus wasn’t concerned about things like the size of group who followed him or whether or not people liked him. His identity and success didn’t rest on numbers or popularity. At the same time, however, he still deeply cared about those around him.
Jesus cared about those around him so much that he called them out of our sin. We, however, tend to think that loving and caring about others means not confronting them but inviting them to church and hoping they learn the gospel there. Confronting people and exposing their need for Christ can be difficult, but Jesus gives the perfect example of how to care for souls and not just popularity and numbers.
It is our calling to care for the souls of those around us and to make disciples. It’s not just about whether or not people enjoy their experience at church. A person who attends church regularly but never hears the gospel or is never exhorted to repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation is no better off than they were before they began attending church. In fact, I would argue that they are worse off because people tend to put their faith in their church attendance if they do not correctly understand the gospel, and they think they are fine when in reality they are not fine and have not been saved from sin.
So remember, the size of your church doesn’t matter (except when it comes to paying the bill for heating and cooling in Anderson, Indiana, where the smaller churches tend to benefit from savings). It doesn’t matter if your music is the best around or if your pastor is the most fun and engaging in the area. Those things are okay, but they should never be the goal. Otherwise, our focus becomes external things and not the internal, soul condition of the lost people around us. If we lose this perspective, all of our efforts will be in vain. We have to model our ministry after that of Jesus Christ and love people while not being afraid to confront them with the truth and trust that God will do a work of regeneration in their hearts.
For more on this topic, check out what Francis Chan has to say in the video below.