Jesus came to serve and to give, and He calls us to a life of the same.
Thom has witnessed a dramatic shift in the church over the past few decades in North America as The Great Commission has become the great omission. He shared one of the statistics that was rather startling to him;
“In 1950 it took about 20 church members a year to reach 1 person for Christ, in other words we saw 1 new christian in the course year for every 20 Church members. Today it’s 86 to 1.”
What has caused this dramatic shift?
Thom believes that an inward shift could be what has happened over the years.
“This inward focus is so pervasive in many of our churches. I don’t think we have evil churches, or churches that disbelieve the great commission.”
In its place many members of the church have this middle or cognitive belief in The Great Commission. When not intentionally focusing outwardly, organizations – churches specifically – have a natural inward bent.
“This natural inward focus, this natural way that things just come back to ‘what my needs are’ always has to be intentional. Always has to be intentionally pushing us outward to do The Great Commission.”
Thom talks about the negative impact of being an inwardly focused church member.
“Churches that are not reaching beyond themselves tend to be the churches that have the most conflict…when you are not outwardly focus you become inwardly obsessed.”
Instead of evangelizing we are giving excuses as to why we shouldn’t be reaching out to those who don’t know Christ.
1. “It’s not my spiritual gift”
2. “That’s what we pay church staff – or pastor – to do”
3. “I don’t have time”
As followers of Christ, we need to overcome these excuses through intentionality.
“It takes intentionality and above all the power of God through prayer to be outwardly focused”
Even though many organizations are naturally going to drift inwardly, there is hope for the church.
Jesus didn’t call us to become inwardly obsessed, He called us to reach out to others and make disciples of all nations. By saying “I will” to God, we can take a stance and shift our focus towards His kingdom and make a lasting impact for Christ.