Sunday, March 7, 2021

A Time to Refocus for the Church.

February 16, 2021 by  
Filed under Christian Talk, Health, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mathew 28:18-20


The Church, the universal body of believers, is established by Jesus, the Christ. The purpose and mission of the “Church” is expressed in what is called the “Great Commission” found in the gospel of Matthew 28:18-20. The phrase “go make disciples” means to teach or instruct. The Church’s ministry to the individual members is done through teaching, empowering, and maturing their respective congregants to continue the teachings of Jesus Christ thru their words and deeds.

Spiritual maturation requires time, patience, proper instruction, and prayer. When an individual accepts Jesus Christ, they are likened to a baby and must be nurtured and taught how to live as a Christian. Spiritual maturity is a change of lifestyle, mindset, and motives. Unfortunately, lack of proper guidance and numerous distractions hinder Christians for maturing. This article addresses several of the distractions that hinders the church’s mission and consequently blocks individuals from developing into strong mature Christians and becoming all that God wants us to be. However, once we recognize that we may have become stagnate or steered off course, we can refocus our churches and our individual lives back on track.


There is an erosion of moral standards within our country. The erosion is manifested by removing God out of our collective consciousness and distracting the church from its core mission. In a 2018 and 2019 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12% points since 2009. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009. Basically, less people associate themselves as Christians who regularly attending church services. Due to the decay in moral standards, many churches have softened the gospel by not preaching the consequences of sin and the reality that there is an actual hell. We have softened the gospel because we do not want to upset our respective members and perhaps cause them to go elsewhere. Churches seem reluctant of informing their congregants about the wages of sin and skirt around difficult and controversial topics such as homosexuality and pornography.

Churches spend more time focused on internal or traditional issues and not focusing on their local communities. Many have become mired in traditional methods and services when the truth is that the church is afraid or untrained on how to adjust its means of outreach. Church members have turned church membership into country club membership. We attend and believe we are entitled to certain “rights and privileges.” Many pew watchers expect the Pastor and leadership to do all the ministry work, while they sit, wait, and evaluate. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul describes church members not by what they should receive in a local church, but by the ministry they should give. Tradition can be a beautiful aspect of church life, however; a church that is distracted by the past will continue to keep ineffective ministries around for fear of “rocking the boat.” These ministries drain resources, people, and time that could be better spent on methods that connect with the community.

Some have become more entangled in politics and are more concerned about fighting abortion than loving one another, showing compassion, and carrying for the poor. Others are obsessed with attracting large numbers of congregants, constructing extravagant buildings, and producing multiple and elaborate media platforms.

A Time to Refocus

There are times when individuals and even churches may lose focus of their mission. This requires a refocus or review of its mission, purpose, and objectives. Jesus spoke to the scribes and Pharisees, calling them “hypocrites about this very issue of losing focus and becoming too internally focused. Similarly, churches today have become self-absorbed and distracted by issues of no eternal value while neglecting the weightier issues of evangelizing and making disciples. The Church is not a self-help organization for material gain and financial advancement, but a hospital for the sick and broken hearted, and a refuge for the lost.

The year 2021 provides us with a unique challenge for the church to build back better by refocusing on spreading the Gospel, making disciples, and serving their respective communities. Now is the time for the Church to renew and refocus itself to that perfect and acceptable will of God (Rom. 12:2). Now is the time to refocus on loving our neighbors as ourselves; now is the time for the Church to demonstrate the love, compassion, and forgiveness of Christ. Now is the time for the Church to come together as one body in Christ.

As a nation, we continue to deal with COVID restrictions and a struggling economy, nevertheless, the Church cannot allow itself to become distracted from its core mission or so stuck in tradition it is unable to change or adjust. The writers’ intent has been to keep in the forefront of your mind the mission of the church, the distractions to the mission and provide motivation to refocus on the mission.

Written by Rev. Dr. Larry E. ThompsonRev. Dr. James A. Cobb, Rev Henry L. “Charlie” Sanders Jr, and Deacon Glenn Davis.

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