Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. In this episode (98) I’m continuing a multi-episode series answering questions from a survey I did a few months back with my subscriber list.
Question: “What are the things we can’t get wrong – the essentials?”
If you were to ask 100 leaders this question, you would likely get 100 different answers. Certainly, there would be similarities, but my guess is that no two lists would be identical. Since you asked me, I am assuming you want my answer.
My disclaimer: This is my answer; it is not the answer, nor is it the best answer.
A Jesus-focused church
It is my conviction that the #1 thing we can’t get wrong is that our churches must be Jesus-focused. A Jesus-focused church is a community made up of people who are on-mission to live out the Christ-life: loving who He loves, obeying what He says, demonstrating His character, and influencing the culture toward Him.
I spent a whole chapter unpacking the idea of the Jesus-focused church in my book Why “Bible Study” Doesn’t Work: The epic failure of evangelicalism’s favorite discipleship method – and how YOUR CHURCH can do something about it.
A blueprint for a Jesus-focused church
If we are going to build a church building, we would need a good set of plans. If we are going to build a church, we need a set of plans from the Chief Architect. To use that metaphor, the things we can’t get wrong – the essentials – would be the foundation and the load-bearing walls.
Jesus is building His church (see Matthew 16:13-18). The foundation of the church is the reality of Jesus Christ – His identity, purpose, completed work on the cross, and current activity in the world.
- The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) – equipping disciples to live as those who walk in step with Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, demonstrating His character in both attitude and action.
- The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:35-40) – loving God by choosing to give Him His rightful place at the center of your existence, so that He receives your complete allegiance and ultimate affection. We are also to love our neighbors by seeking to be a neighbor to those who need it most.
- A New Commandment (John 13:34-35) – loving one another with Jesus-like love demonstrated in the way we live out our lives in community.
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*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)
*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)