‘On Purpose’

Terry Walton



I Was Thinking…

Purpose is mighty important piece of any plan.  “What is the purpose?” becomes a critical question to any adventure desiring success.  When purpose is lost, forgotten or changed then the plan is lost, forgotten and changed.

Recently I have found myself concerned with ‘churches losing their purpose’.  This is not only dangerous to the churches who wander away but to those broken and lost lives God is calling those churches to help, reach and offer Good News.  Staying ‘On Purpose’ is a matter of life and death.

The Apostle Paul must have spent many an hour in prayer concerning the churches he helped birth.  Much of those prayers had to have been about them holding on to their purpose.  Paul is the one who gave us the image of the church being the ‘Body of Christ’.  In other words Paul always wanted the church to be doing what Jesus would be doing.  Is the church in which you worship or serve doing what Jesus would be doing? 

Notice I didn’t ask “Is YOUR church doing what Jesus would be doing?”  I have heard it way too often in my ministry, especially when change is being asked of us…someone will say “This is MY Church.”  Or as one lady once told me “I’ve been in my church for over forty years and that is just not the way we do things in my church.”  This is not your church, my church, our church…it is God’s Church with a purpose.

I realize that being proud of ministry in the church in which we serve and worship can be a great thing…but let’s not lose the church’s purpose in the midst of our glee.  The church is an instrument of God for the salvation of the world.  It is NOT a family that is just for the family…it is a community of faith that is a vessel to help, heal and win a broken world to wholeness.

Occasionally someone will say that ‘their’ (again it is not ‘their’ church…it is God’s) is becoming too big.  What I have learned this to mean is that they are losing a sense of intimacy and control.  Anyone worried that the church becoming too big is offering warning signs that that portion of ‘once faith’ community is trending toward ‘losing their first love’ (Revelation 2:4) and thus losing the church’s purpose.  How can any community be too big to offer love and hope to the world?

I have concluded that, generally speaking, churches that struggle do not have a ‘theological’ problem.  They don’t even have a ‘social issue’ problem (despite all the rhetoric and emotion of our day).  They have a ‘purpose’ problem…they have, in this world that desperately needs to know of the Good News of God’s love, lost the church’s purpose.  They have lost why the church was begun in its beginning.  They have lost their first love.

Our purpose is to offer the world Christ.  That is our purpose…and ALL people are in need of the love of God found in the gift of an only child named Jesus (John 3:16).  Let’s love the world ‘on purpose’…God will bless such vessels of love.  Stay ‘on purpose’ and it might amaze us how struggle will soon find a back seat in the community of faith in which we worship and serve.

 Always Thinking…


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