You’re not going to want to miss this

Jesus-related is not the same as Jesus-focused. Unfortunately, I’ve seen much more Jesus-related ministry than Jesus-focused efforts.

I struggled with sharing that observation. It’s not my intent to sound like I’m judging anyone’s ministry. But I’ve been a part of enough ministry efforts to know it’s true.

What’s makes the difference? It can be hard to tell and easy to disguise.

Jesus-related can mean we plan something at the church. You know, where Jesus lives. The event may even have a churchy title. When you arrive, there may even be Jesus talk. Fun is had by all and no one really sticks around afterward to clean up.

The assumption with Jesus-related ministry is it’s all about Jesus because it’s connected to the church. So, we’ll raise money for the church. Which is great because now we can buy those pretty bulletins for Sunday. What else would we use the money for? Oh, and another box of offering envelopes.

(I sure hope my sarcasm isn’t ruining what I want you to hear!)

Jesus-related ministry tends to be more about the local church than about Jesus. Take notice over the next few weeks of church events. Watch how they’re advertised. Listen for how many times you hear leaders say, “You’re not going to want to miss this!”

The truth is, people want to miss it. They miss it all the time. Another bake sale isn’t all that life-changing. I think they’ll miss it because it’s more Jesus-related than Jesus-focused.

Of course, that’s not to say that the church is unimportant. God prepared the body of Christ to take part in a divine plan. The church is valuable in God’s eyes!

All through August, my congregation is reading the entire letter of Ephesians together. This weekend I’m going to remind them of Ephesians 3:10, that “through the church” God would show his wisdom to the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

And that leads us to Jesus-focused ministry.

Simply put, Jesus-focused ministry is kingdom-focused ministry. What you plan for and what you talk about in your preparation is different in Jesus-focused ministry. This ministry doesn’t include Jesus. It revolves around Jesus.

It’s easy for us to convince ourselves that anyone who doesn’t come to our event is a heathen or lacks true faith. I don’t buy that. A lot of people are seeking spiritual insight about the meaning of life and our purpose here. Plenty of people want to explore the reality of God.

Sometimes it’s hard to see that reality in the church because of the Jesus-related stuff.

Again, I don’t mean to demoralize anyone’s effort in church. There’s so much good in the church and so much good in what God wants the church to do. If we can learn to re-evaluate what we do, to make sure it’s Jesus-focused, we would see transformation nobody would want to miss.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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