“In many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in his work.”
That quote from Dallas Willard always makes me pause. I can’t help but bring the church’s ministry into question when I reflect on it. There’s no telling how many times I’ve been in church groups that wondered in bafflement.
What should they do? What should be important to their ministry?
To be sure, it’s wise to ask questions. We need corporate reflection and prayer about our next steps. Indeed, where there is no vision from God the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). On the other side of Covid, many church leaders have been asking questions. Many blamed the virus for the amount of churches that have perished in the last few years. Could it be, though, they had already long stopped engaging in God’s work?
And what is God’s work?
So much of what is faithful ministry can fit into the categories of worship, ministries of reconciliation and evangelism. There are more, I’m sure. But let’s chew on these for a moment.
Worship as God’s work is encountering the living God, not singing your favorite songs. Worship in sprit and in truth ushers in transformation of our hearts and minds. We are drawn closer to God’s will not made more comfortable with our own ways.
Reconciliation takes many forms. It requires prayer and humility. Grace and courage. You can’t have that if you only complain about how things aren’t like they used to be or how no one wants to come to church. Or even making faith all about coming to church.
We limit evangelism to mean teaching people the Bible. Scripture is an important tool of evangelism, of course. But true evangelism is teaching people how to sense and participate in God’s kingdom fully. That’s so much more than a quick Bible study.
Quite frankly, most of our churches would rather have another bake sale than get that deep in the water. Now, we want to hear from God, we say. But what do we expect to hear if we won’t actually engage in God’s work?