“He [Christ] is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fullyÂ matureÂ in Christ. Â To this end IÂ strenuouslyÂ contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Â – Paul in Colossians 1:28-29.
Many churches are short-sighted. Â Many focus entirely on the number of people they can get out to church, and not on the spiritual growth of the people sitting in the pews. Â Don’t get me wrong, it is important to count how many people are coming out to church. Â As the old axiom goes, you should “Count people, because people count.” Â Every person is an eternal soul, and if the number of people coming out the church is not growing, or worse is getting smaller, then there is a problem. Â A large Sunday morning attendance though, is only a small part of the picture.
I don’t think Christ had a large group of uncommitted undiscipled believers in mind when he pictured His church. Â In fact, Christ always seemed to be running the uncommitted crowd away. Â Yet, many churches seem content with filled pews. Â They seem to think God is happy with a full church, yet Paul in Colossians 1 says that ultimately that is not what we are working towards.
“So that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” Â That is theÂ ultimateÂ goal. Â Mature believers, that is what churches should be counting in addition to Sunday attendance. Â Not just how many people fill a pew, but also how many people are involved in ministry, how many people attend a small group, how many people are involved in personal evangelism, how many people are parenting their kids in a godly way, how many people are applying Biblical ethics in their marriage and their work, how many mature believers there are as a result of the church’s ministry.
It was to this end that PaulÂ strenuouslyÂ contended, and it should be the end that we work towards as well.
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