I know of a woman who complained to one of the ministers at her church about all the things that were wrong with a particular age-group ministry, pinpointing each detail.
I must add here that this minister quickly confesses that there is always room for improvement with what occurs within this, and any other, ministry group.
She gave no indication that she was aware this group regularly received sound biblical teaching, nor that she had a good understanding of the spiritual needs of this group—or any group, for that matter. From the things she said, you would have thought nothing of any significance was occurring within this age-group ministry.
After listening for a good while, the minister asked the woman what she thought would fix these problems. Her quick response boiled down to three things, the ministry needed a Motto, T-Shirts and Paint.
To this woman and so many church members (some who may not even be Christ-followers), the church has become more of a social club and entertainment center, than a body of Believers, sinners saved by God’s grace, who strive to live in obedience to God’s Word.
The bottom line was that she wanted this age group to identify with each other as a group. And wanted everyone to know they were a group. While there is nothing wrong with that goal, it is not what the goal of that group, nor any church or church group should have as their primary goal.
The basic problem is that this woman had the wrong goal, therefore, any fixes or changes she had in mind would make NO REAL difference. This woman was looking at the wrong things to “fix” the wrong things.
The age group already had a motto, in fact, it is the same motto every Christ-follower, church, or ministry is given in God’s Word: Glorify God in and Through Everything! Sadly, based on the suggestions she gave, this was not the type motto this woman had in mind.
I have a fairly large collection t-shirts from numerous events in which I have participated. Yet, having and wearing a t-shirt is not what made me feel welcomed into, or a part of that particular group. The people are what made me feel a part of the group as they accepted me. And, I had to go into the setting making every effort to meet people and participate in the activities. Only the Holy Spirit’s prompting and working in and through the people of God—as they invite, encourage and love others—will bring people into a group and make them feel part of that group.
Now as to the coat of paint, any facility over a few years old that is used regularly, could likely use some spiffing up. A coat of paint would certainly help make the area look nice, however, it will not make an individual want to come in and be a part of the group and learn. Only the Holy Spirit’s prompting and working in and through the people of God—as they invite, encourage and love others—will bring people into a group and make them feel part of that group.
As Christ-followers, and groups within the church, we are to do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17), be witnesses of Who Christ is (Acts 1:8), and make disciple-makers (Matthew 28:18-20).
Christ-follower’s words and actions tell others that the Bible is our guide and, that we are already new creatures in Christ, being “transformed by the renewing of our minds” as Romans 12:2 tells us:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. –Romans 12:2
Living in right relationship with Christ is how people know for what we stand and to what group we belong, as they “take note” that we are not like the world.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. –Acts 4:13
We (the church) do not need a motto, t-shirts and paint! These things offer no eternal value.
WE NEED THE GOSPEL, for it brings us to salvation and frees us from the bondage of sin so we can go about doing the things God calls us to do. And, it is the only thing that offers real Hope and eternal value.
For further study, read: Romans 6:13-23, Galatians 5:1, and Galatians 5:16-26.
*All Scripture references are from The New King James Version of the Holy Bible.