Reaching Out, Digging Deep, and Raising Up in the Church
I enjoy reading Joe Thorn's blog. Joe is a pastor devoted to leading his people into a deeper love of Christ, a mature and robust knowledge of God and His Word, and a desire to reach out to the community in the name of Jesus. He has recently been writing a blog series called What Small Churches Can Do. I found these quotes especially helpful in my own thinking about the church and its mission.
Churches die when they stop reaching out because apart from that orientation disciples cannot be made.
Because the mission of the church is to make disciples I tend to emphasize three needs: to reach out, dig deep, and raise up. Unless we give ourselves to these principles we may find ourselves confused or overwhelmed with what we want to do and what we actually can do.
It is possible to have a strong outward orientation that seeks the salvation of the lost, but neglects to carry on the work of discipleship by "teaching them to observe all that [Jesus] commanded." The goal the church has for people is not only to enter the kingdom of heaven, but to become like the King of the Kingdom.
Digging deep is pressing on into maturity (Heb 6:1) through the pastoral instruction of God's word for doctrine and devotion, and the discipling of one another through example, service, and exhortation in community.