What dominates your thoughts as a Christian leader?
I believe we should spend a significant amount of time thinking about the last commandment Jesus gave us.
"'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age'" Amen (Matt. 28:19).
Why is it so important that we give our time to praying, planning, strategizing and thinking about how we can get the gospel to as many people as possible during our lifetime?
I read some statistics a few days ago that reminded me of how important it is to be focused on the Great Commission.
Pew Research Center recently released a report that says more than 70 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. The largest religious demographic is "Evangelical Protestant" at 25.4 percent.
That's good news, but this next finding also revealed that America's second-largest religious group is the "nones." If you're not familiar with nones, it describes a person who claims no religious association.
22.8 percent of the nation identify themselves as nones.
This is a larger percentage than Catholics (20.8 percent), or Mainline Protestants (14.7 percent) .
The fact that we are surrounded by kids, parents and families that have yet to experience the love and forgiveness that comes through a relationship with Jesus, should be prominent in our thoughts.
How many people attend your church is not the main thing you should be thinking about. Instead, spend your time thinking about how many people around you haven't come to Christ yet.
As believers, we should be thinking of ways we can connect with nones. Ways we can share the gospel with them. Ways we can show them by our actions and words that following Jesus is the best life to live.
One of the best ways to reach nones is through their children. Time and time again, I have seen God work through children to reach their unbelieving parents. If you want to reach nones, focus on reaching their children.
The gospel is as powerful as ever. It can transform an unbeliever into a believer. But the gospel must to be shared inside and outside the walls of the church. Many churches have stopped sharing the gospel outside the walls of their church. And so, they reach a few people who are already inside the walls of their church, but their effectiveness outside the walls of their church is minimal.
This causes them to turn their attention to those inside the walls rather than outside. Often a "hold on to Jesus comes" mentality forms. The problem with this is Jesus told us to boldly go outside the walls of our church and boldly proclaim the Gospel to the nones.
I want to encourage you to shift your thinking more toward "How can we reach the nones in our community?" Put what God gives you in writing.
Then take the thoughts that you wrote down and create action steps that will take you to that goal.
The Gospel Still Works if We Work the Gospel
Our churches must become places where nones can come and belong before they believe. Places where their hard questions are welcomed and encouraged.
Here's the deal. You and I both used to be nones. We were separated from God until He sent someone our way to tell us how much He loved us and wanted to have a relationship with us. You and I are living proof that nones can be transformed by the power of the Gospel.
My great-grandfather was a criminal who was sent to jail for murder.
My grandfather was a heavy drinker and brawler, having had his nose broke five times in bar fights.
Our family was about as "none" as you could possibly be.
Until a man in our community decided to reach out to our unchurched, dysfunctional, none family with the gospel. One by one, the gospel transformed us from nones to followers of Jesus. Our legacy has shifted from being criminals to being Christ-followers.
What will dominate your ministry thoughts this week? Will it only be about keeping the sheep inside the walls happy and content? Will the number of people who were inside the walls of your church this past weekend be what you dwell on? Or will it be on how to reach the nones of your community?
May we stay focused on what Jesus is focused on. He came to seek and save the nones. And He wants to use you to reach them. But for that to happen, you've got to look outside the walls of your church and think about ways to connect with them.
May this resonate through our minds this week.
Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 27 years. He is the director of children's ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. Christ Fellowship has nine campuses and ministers to over 25,000 people on weekends. Dale leads a children's ministry staff team of over 70 and a volunteer team of over 2,600. He has authored 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Children's Ministry, 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Preschool Ministry, Children's Ministry in the 21st Century, Sunday School That Works, the churchleaders.com Top 100 book, and If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry. You can find more of his helpful resources at relevantchildrensministry.com or buildingchildrensministry.com.
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